Monday, 9 June 2014

PlayStation/Sony E3 2014: Initial Thoughts

So, so far everyone I've spoken to is creaming their pants over the Playstation conference. I on the other hand, was rather underwhelmed. Maybe it's because over the years I've learned to cut through the bullshit. I'm not a Sony fanboy, but I'm not an Xbox fanboy either. I'm more inclined to like the Playstation for nostalgia reasons, some of my favourite games are on it's original incarnation like Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid. But this conference to me dragged like crazy. Let's dive into it.

Destiny opened the conference before anyone even stepped out on stage. We finally got some solid glimpses of story with what I think was a Peter Dinklage narration. The story seems to be about a thing called the "traveller", sounds like some kind of planet that comes into our star system enhancing our lives ten fold, giving us triple life span, new technology all this awesome stuff. But like a yin-yang, it had an evil counterpart that arrived and screwed everything and everyone up. The story sounds solid and for some reason reminds me of Mass Effect's story of finding the Prothean beacon, then eventually encountering the Reapers. I like the sound of it - that being said, I hope the gameplay can match up. Right now all I'm seeing in the gameplay is basically a more realistic Borderlands, which don't get me wrong is great, but a lot of the fun of that game is it's quirkiness which doesn't exist here. Maybe it's just I'm a little FPS'd out, which when we get to Far Cry 4 you'll hear me moan more about.

There's a new White PS4, looks shiny. Might be what I get.

The Order 1886 had a creepy old school Resident Evil vibe to it, in fact it stole shot for shot one sequence right out of it. It looks nice but I can't help that I've seen a lot of this before. Something doesn't feel right about this game, there's not really much explanation of story or what exactly the game will be about other than this short 2-3 minute clip of gameplay. It's got no context, is this what all the game is like, I don't know the previous trailer was all CG.

Entwined looked pretty, it's a new art-house game. New style of gameplay that's not bang bang, guns. I like it. But it's just not something that had me excited either.

Infamous: Second Son DLC called Infamous: First Light. CG trailer nothing to write home about. It is a DLC right, I'm not confused, because the title indicates it's a new game but I didn't get that impression from what they were tailing about. I'm not going crazy right... right!? RIGHT!??!?!?!?!

Little Big Planet 3 was announced however, and to many I'm sure they were very excited. I watched and maybe this is what non-Nintendo fans think when they watch a new Mario game. It looked the same as the last two. I never got into it, I tried, I just couldn't Nice that it's backwards compatible with it's predecessors and has true co-op platforming, unlike NSMB.U which basically was how many times can I throw my brother off a cliff like the asshole I am... I hate you Takis... Anyway, the point is., LBP3 didn't seem like anything was particularly new. Nothing I saw made me want to rush out and buy it today as the previous two didn't either.

Bloodbourne was announced next and it was a dark violent horror game. That's about all I got... which kinda sums up a lot of this conference.

Finally we get to Far Cry 4 and this is the point where I just realised, I'm all FPS'd out. I can't do any more first person games right now. The first half of the gameplay showed this mountain scaling, we got more a sense of gameplay, it looked cool. The leap in the winged suit looked cool and gave a sense of scale. This will probably have to be one I try before I buy, or play on the show floor as nothing here really hit me as amazing... that was until they announced that a second player on PSN can join your game like they were in your living room and they don't even have to own the bloody game! Incredible! This is probably using their Gakai streaming service somehow as it's exclusive to PlayStation.

Some kind of Zombie Game, I don't know the trailer was funny but my feed cut out for a minute and when it started up I just saw more Battlefield Hardline, which while fun and all, we've seen it a billion times now.

This is where for me the lull began, where they took an hour off and showed some indies and stuff, a lot of stuff that kinda baffled me too. Starting with the Magicka 2 trailer was funny but didn't show much gameplay, looks good though. Looks the same as Magicka, I hope they can do something new and interesting with it. I've always been a fan of games like this and Bastion, something about top down just reminds me of old school games like Zelda: Link the Past that I really like.

Okay, so the next one was Grim Fandango HD Remaster. Everyone jumped out of their seat and screamed like schoolgirls over this one. I have heard of the game but honestly have never played it so the nostalgia factor wasn't there for me. I'm sure it'll be fun and maybe if they'd shown some gameplay or something I could have gotten on board - but again that's the problem here, nothing is being shown, they're just being announced and anything that is being shown is being shown for older fans of the series not to bring in new ones like me.

Lots of indies in a montaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaage by Devolver. Looks a lot of fun. It was quickly followed by Suda 51 and something dark and depressing and David Lynch-ian...

The developers of Journey's next game is called Giant Squid. And much like their previous game is impossible to describe if you don't play it. You're swimming... I think... I don't get it.

Now is the game that set the VGX on fire. No Man's Sky, now I'll be honest, it is a seriously impressive feat with all the tiny team and the press this is getting. So great to them. It's beautiful looking game... but... what IS IT? Is it an RPG, is it exploration, I have no idea what the purpose of this game is. Am I just that set in my ways. I don't know, no-one seems to be able to give me a concrete answer. What is this game, someone please tell me in the comments below because I'm completely lost.

Project Morpheus their VR headset was talked about and will be at the booth. I'll have more there soon. YouTube is coming to PS4, so instant YouTube upload like you can do with Mario Kart 8 on Wii U but on all PS4 titles via the share function. That is going to be a copyright claims clusterfuck indeed but a nice feature. Nothing new in particular. Then they talked about Free to Play games for about ten minutes... moving on....

Playstation Now, a service I'm very intrigued by and have been saying for years Nintendo should do this with the Virtual Console. The cool thing was select Sony TV's will get a special streaming service. I happen to have an old Sony smart television, so that's cool, even if I already own a PS3 it will be on. The PS4 gets it first via Beta on July 31st before it comes to Vita and PS3. They'd previously mentioned phones and tablets, but no mention of it here.

A few days ago Mortal Kombat X was announced. The trailer looked really cool, integrating what looked like solid gameplay with cinematics. The final gameplay footage has none of the cinematics. It's basically a prettier version of 2011's game with maybe some extra gore... which is getting stale. It's like Sonic's speed, it's fun for a while but there's a reason MK nearly went under until this reboot, you can't base a thing soley around one gimmick. MKX seems to be just a visual upgrade to the excellent MK9. Which I guess is fine, maybe my hopes were too high.

Then cut off the games again to go back to Netflix style original series, one called "Powers" based on the comic book series of the same name about a two homicide detectives who investigate crimes involving people with superpowers. And we got a trailer for a Rachet & Clank movie that will be on PS4 too.

Incoming slew of remasters, Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V remastered for PS4; both look pretty much identical to their PS3 counterparts but will be on PS4. GTA 5 gets a save transfer from PS3 and Xbox 360, which is nifty. I'll probably get these with my PS4 just because I never got them for PS3 and now there should be better versions coming.

Then we finally got into the real games with a trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which looks excellent the cinematics look beautiful but it didn't give us anything other than a story and some cool CG sequences. We got no gameplay (although that's what the $40 Ground Zeroes was for...... .... ... FAIL) and we got no story, just basically a music video with a depressing song. I guess nothing more needs to be said about this game other than "GET IT OUT NOW!" they didn't even set a release date so I guess it'll be a 2015 release, maybe we'll even see it again at E3 again. 

Finally the star of the evening... Batman: Arkham Knight - it gave us story, it gave us excellent gameplay and the world of this game looks enormous. It's huge... big enough for the Batmobile and big enough to truly explore. Comparing this and Arkham City, which is one of my favourite games of all time, this is clearly a step up gameplay-wise. Let's hope with the help of that creepy as all hell Scarcrow appearance that the story can match up too, that was a hell of a game to play and I hope this helps go out on a high note and makes me forget the Kevin Conroy-less Origins... Blasphemy!

Finally it ended on Uncharted 4 reveal, which everyone is going batshit over... I know you like the series guys but... it was  CG trailer, it didn't show anything. Oh what do I know, I'll probably do the same if they just show some Zelda artwork tomorrow.

Overall this conference dragged for me. It was a lot of cool flashy announcements, but not as cool and flashy as last year, maybe that set my expectations too high. My major problem with this is it wasn't really a Sony conference. Also even though I knew it wouldn't be there the lack of Final Fantasy XV really pissed me off - it's clear Sony paid them last year to show a trailer for a game everyone wanted just to get them hyped for the PS4 because this game is clearly no-where near ready. Overall that sums it all up, it was all flash no substance, the only major game that had me hyped was Batman: Arkham Knight. Hopefully it can live up to it. The conference felt like a slew of "fan favourites" - meaning no-one who's not a fan like Grim Fandango knows what the hell is going on, and "games that have been announced and we know so much about already so let's not waste time, here's  a short trailer". 



Above Average