"Battlefield 1" is about World War I, which is cool, but also it’s a Battlefield game, so it’s instantly un-cool. "Dishonored 2" could be really cool but the story seems dumb and it only makes me wish I were playing "BioShock 4". "Prey" should be called "Prey 2" because if you call two games 'Prey' that just gets really confusing. "Watch_Dogs 2" should not fool anybody in 2016. "Gears of War 4" is more like 'Gears of Bore 4'."Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE" is a game that only I will ever enjoy. "Titanfall 2" is not "Overwatch". "Spider-Man "won’t be out until 2019. And I don’t know what "Mafia III" is.
Anyway, onto the reactions. I'll break this post up into categories:
Games I Really Want to Hate But Must Begrudgingly Admit Don’t Look That Bad:
"God of War 5" – I hate God of War. These games have been symbols for a very long time of everything that was wrong with gaming last decade. The first "God of War" was fun in a pretty shallow way. Now that "Bayonetta" and "Metal Gear Rising" exist I cannot really think of a good reason to play "God of War" in 2016. When I think of Kratos I think of teenaged boys who think they’re mature, eating Doritos, sipping Mountain Dew, and raging against the Wii for being “kiddie”. That’s probably unfair, but God of War really collected a lot of bad trends like QTEs, lame linear game design, and stupid empty-headed plotlines. If God of War was in anyway aware of its own insanity that was all lost in Kratos’ unrelenting brotastic fury. It was assholian to a degree that aesthetically turned me off.
Weirdly Seems like the guys making the games agree with me. "God of War 5" is a curiously specific answer to all my complaints.
The important thing with "God of War" is that the game this time actually has a story that’s… oh my god, compelling? I’m having this emotion called “feeling things”. Kratos has a beard and a son, and the storyline has picked up a fine coat of "The Last of Us". Hey, being surprisingly affecting and character-driven turned Nathan Drake from a chucklefuck douche into a real person in "Uncharted 4", more games should try "The Last of Us" method. Suddenly Kratos has an actual positive goal in mind other than blowing up the world to get revenge from the gods that blew up the world. Add one innocent child for Beard Kratos to protect and now there are stakes. There’s a different mythology to pillage, there’s a promise of character arcs, there’s what seems like more open world-ish gameplay. Dammit, this one of the best games at the show.
Now watch the kid gets killed at the end of the prologue and suddenly Kratos is only angrier. I really hope not.
"Resident Evil VII: Biohazard" – In Japan the Resident Evil games are called “Biohazard”, so I like to imagine that this game is called “Biohazard VII: Biohazard” over there.
It has been a weird journey for Resident Evil/Biohazard over these many years. I’ve been told that once upon a time this was a survival horror franchise that actually wanted to scare its audience back in the days before cellphones. But quickly the series went from cheerfully silly action in "Resident Evil 4" to becoming straight co-op shooter games. The Paul W. S. Anderson movies did have a good effect on the games. However those things aren’t selling as many tickets as they once did. I think the film version of "Resident Evil 6" has been sitting on a shelf in Hollywood for a whole year now. So the Resident Evil games might as well stop trying to be Gears of War and try to be scary again.
The demo released on thePlayStation Network does not seem to have anything to do with the larger Resident Evil game continuity. Which I'm thankful for because that continuity is now seemingly as complicated as Metal Gear Solid or Kingdom Hearts. This demo is basically a variation on "PT" (#FucKonami) just set in what appears to be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre farmstead. Now if I had to choose between crazy undead rednecks and the twerps at the Umbrella Corporation, I take the crazy undead rednecks. The demo, however, was only fifteen minutes long. Yet since I don’t play horror games I had fifteen heart attacks and had to ask my sister to play with me because otherwise I would leap out a window. I don’t do horror shit, okay? If crazy white people want to explore the haunted house, they can do it, just keep me out of there, okay? The demo was no "PT" but it’s as close as I can get in 2016.
Oh, apparently none of the demo will actually be in the real game, so maybe it was all pointless. I like the idea of a really scary first person horror game with rednecks. I like atmosphere, and real chills. So instead the final "Resident Evil VII" will mostly likely feature shooting, stupid corporate conspiracy theories, and big dumb bosses again.
"Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands" – I feel like Ubisoft has seen "Clear and Present Danger" more than a few times on FX reruns, but never actually understood the movie. You realize, Ubisoft, that the movie wasn’t glorifying the drug war as the Red, White, and Blue saving the world, right? Did you catch the part where it was actually about illegal excesses of US power creating an endless war in South America while actively collaborating with the very drug lords they claimed to be fighting? Guess not. So here’s a game about a bunch of Gringo Yahoos flying into Bolivia, killing a ton of brown people, and slapping each other on the back after burning down half the country to catch one cocaine dealer. USA! USA! USA!
That said despite "Wildlands"’ utter awfulness, its gameplay does not look bad. It’s a multiplayer co-op "Metal Gear Solid V". That’s not a bad idea at all. I know while I was playing "Metal Gear Solid V" I basically had to rely on Quiet doing half the work. Co-op is natural for such a gameplay style. And hopefully "Wildlands" can coerce right-wing dipshitery out of the real world and onto living room couches. Douchebags can simulate their jingoist fantasies instead of actually starting wars. I figure every person that’s too busy playing boring tripe like "The Division" to vote for Trump is a small victory.
Of course, any good idea Ubisoft ever has is made instantly boring because that’s what Ubisoft does. Think "Watch_Dogs 2 "looks good? You’re wrong, it’s going to be boring. Angry beard guy sure is passionate about "For Honor". Doesn’t matter. Ubisoft. It will be boring. Good trailer for a bad game.
"Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" – Most years I have absolutely nothing to say about Call of Duty. This year is really no different. They’re making another Call of Duty, only this one threatens to be “Infinite”. Also it is set in outer space, as far as one could get from the horribly depressing reality of modern warfare in 2016. Yeah, when you’re at war for fifteen years, the Neocon action movie version of foreign policy just doesn’t seem as much as it once did, huh? Let’s go play Star Wars instead! Actually that reminds me: between "Star Wars Battlefront", "Titanfall", and "Mass Effect" I have no idea why "Infinite Warfare" exists. EA seems pretty covered with future space shooters already.
But the gameplay trailer for "Infinite Warfare", I must admit, very much in spite of myself, did not look bad. You had space fighters and lasers and zero gravity and space opera nonsense. I love this sort of thing. It is hard to make it not fun. All the game needed was some aliens to pop in to be truly wonderful and ridiculous. In zero gravity, in a fully 3D combat space, could this game end up being just the same old Call of Duty game? No way, right?
Well, then there’s the second half of the trailer. They found a way to have boring shoot-outs in space. Same old Call of Duty just with a cool paint job, that's what this is. Bait and switch. Instead of Jedis or Gundams we got military jargon and pre-scripted action sequences. I got worried for a moment that this game might actually be good.
Scary New Things That Aren’t Sequels
"We Happy Few" – "BioShock 4" seems like it is just never going to happen. Ken Levine did all he could to burn the franchise down with the "BioShock Infinite" DLC storyline. So crap. I guess we’ll just have to make up a brand new world in a totally new IP with a disturbing psychology all its own. Luckily there is "We Happy Few" which is a totally new IP set in a brand new world with a disturbing psychology all its own. "We Happy Few" doesn’t just have the spirit of a BioShock game, it is a BioShock game. Same button prompts, same grabbing random food out of trash cans, same combat against insane people in a society that has already collapsed without them realizing.
"We Happy Few "is set in an alternate universe 1960s where it appears all of mankind is hooked on happy pills. They wear white masks for no apparent reason and have lost all grips with reality. Rather than being a badass gunslinger like Christian Bale from "Equilibrium", the hero seems to be just a meek middle-aged office drone. When he does not take his medicine he begins to notice that the world around him is not quite what it once was. The office is a mess, a “welcome back” party’s decorations have been up for weeks, and a piñata is actually a rat that his coworkers are eating. Suddenly they see he’s no longer on the drugs and violently attack. Looks like the world is properly fucked-up beyond the illusion of the drugs.
Also, despite some reports otherwise, as far as I can tell "We Happy Few" is not a Walking Sim. Proper survival game, should be very good. The gameplay footage that was shown at E3 however looked a little shaky, I’m not sure how finished this title actually is.
But the trailer showed us nothing at all so I can't really recommend this game. Still let us say it all together: #FucKonami. Because seriously.
"Days Gone" – You know how I praised "Uncharted 4" and "God of War 5" for being like "The Last of Us"? I think I implied that "The Last of Us" is a major step forward for the industry in terms of mature storylines and should be considered the goal of any serious game storyteller? Yeah, I meant tell original stories that have human stakes and intensely emotional character turns. You don’t necessarily have to just make "The Last of Us" again.
The story trailer for "Days Gone" made it look like a motorcycle road trip in a post-apocalyptic America. Now “post-apocalyptic America” does not necessarily have to equal zombies. There’s nukes, there’s civil war, there’s alien invasion, there’s Captain Trips, there's Donald Trump, plenty of things can wipe out this great nation. I think "Days Gone" would clearly have a better premise if it were more like Stephen King’s "The Stand" instead of being just another zombie game. Well, turns out it is just another zombie game. It is too early to decide that "Days Gone" is not worth anybody’s time, but this game is not selling me at all. The endless swarms of zombies certainly look graphically impressive, but they also look straight cribbed from the "World War Z" movie. And I fucking hated that thing.
I’m not sure how much of that massive stream of zombies the PlayStation 4 is actually going to be able to handle. And even if it does work, is running away from all those zombies really going to be fun? Shooting seems to barely help and just opens you to being flanked. If you go down the wrong blind corridor you’ll get eaten. This seems like trial and error gameplay. This demonstration looked pre-scripted and not ready for consumption.
"LawBreakers" – It is still too soon for the games industry to start marketing "Overwatch" Killers. Which is good because the moment any game is called a "____ Killer" that game is immediately doomed to failure. It is an act of hubris that will result in clear karmic death for your project. None of the "World of Warcraft" killers succeeded. Nobody has ever taken "Grand Theft Auto"’s place either. And look at Sonic the Hedgehog, holy shit what the fuck happened?? The original "____ Killer" in 2016 looks like a bloated corpse rotting in the Sun while Super Mario is just as super as ever. "Overwatch" is not so entrenched that anybody needs to make a game specifically to kill it, but woe to those who try. "Battleborn" currently has three players left. "LawBreakers", a brand new class-based FPS multiplayer game, would do well not to try it. Market itself as anything but an "Overwatch" killer.
From what I’ve seen of "LawBreakers", it looks quite cool actually. Of the classes shown, one can Spider-Man swing around the map with a laser grappling hook, and the others I’ve never seen because the Spider-Man one is just the coolest thing ever and who cares about those scrubs? You can shoot behind you, which for some reason almost no FPS games have ever tried. Also there’s zero gravity sections! You shoot your guns to float around and kill things. "Titanfall 2" might have the full power of EA marketing, but "LawBreakers" has the metal heart of true pew pew pew pow pow pow gun shooting melee. It looks fun.
However, "LawBreakers" is really freaking confusing to follow and I cannot tell the characters apart. If I played it I know I will die instantly and be a burden to everybody. So I’ll stick with "Overwatch", thanks.
This Last Game Doesn’t Fit in Any of My Previous Categories
"NieR: Automata" – The first "Nier" is a game that’s on my ever-growing list of old games I need to play some day. It’s on there with "Panzer Dragoon", "Bastion", "Ori and the Blind Forest", "Sonic CD", "Super Mario RPG", "Grim Fandango", "Transistor", "Psychonaughts", "Half-Life", "Portal", "SOMA", "Bayonetta 2", "Catherine", "Earthbound", "Donkey Kong County", "Axiom Verge", "Sweet Home", "Undertale", "Ico", and "Captain Toad Treasure Trackers". Maybe someday I’ll get to it, but looking at E3 this year, I have my doubts. I'm going to be busy. In the meantime, "NieR: Automata" was the actually good Platinum Games game of E3 2016.
"Scalebound", in comparison, had a prat for a protagonist – a pratagonist, if you will. And it did not look like fun to play. Certainly not as much as mixing "Metal Gear Rising" with bullet hell.
I do not really have a clue as to what is going on in the trailers and don’t need it to. "NieR: Automata" is a sequel to a spin-off of one of the weirdest JRPG franchises out there. I don’t know anything about its source material, "Drakengard," other than there’s a girl with a flower growing out of her eye. And most of what I know about "Nier 1" was that it featured a transgendered girl three years before that was a cool thing to do. Also if you fully beat it will delete itself off your PS3. "Nier "2 seems to have nothing to do with the first game. There’s twins with floating swords fighting robots in pretty solid Platinum Games-style combat. Much like "Persona 5", I think this game will be more interesting without knowing where it is going. I hope "NieR: Automata" never makes sense. Making sense is boring. I want gonzo lunatic energy and action pandemonium.
So here’s the ultimate list of Best Game of E3 2016 According to BH, in case anybody wants a final list for whatever reason:
Numbah 1 – "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild"
Numbah 2 – "We Happy Few"
Numbah 3 – "God of War 5"
Numbah 4 – "Horizon: Zero Dawn"
Numbah 5 – "The Last Guardian"
Numbah 6 – "Final Fantasy XV"
Numbah 7 – "NieR: Automata"
Congratulations to everybody who made the list, hopefully you live up to the hype. Now assuming there is an E3 2017, let me just say, I hope to report the show on location. Somehow.