Ramblings: E3 Quick Thoughts Part 1

As everything gets back to “normal”, I’m beyond psyched for everything E3 has presented so far and what has yet to be seen.  So far, this seems to be a pretty successful expo so far.  It has been a mix of safe presentations and some pleasing surprises.  In terms of conferences, I’ve viewed Bethesda, Ubisoft and Sony.  In no particular order, here’s pretty much some blurbs.  More after the jump.

For starters, I won’t deny my relationship with Bethesda (alias “Bugthesda”) is a rocky one.  While my inner-fanboy loves to hate them for their take on Fallout, they’ve done a wide variety of fantastic reboots.  Last year’s Wolfenstein the New Order was a shocking breath of fresh air, giving the series a sense of self awareness while keeping it feeling new.  As for this year, we’ve gotten a closer look into the beloved DooM series.  This classic bloody romp through space stations and hell itself returns to its roots!  While 3 made an attempt at survival horror, the new entry goes back to action-packed balls to the wall excitement!  The graphics have this cheesy heavy metal album cover aesthetic that has the right amount of cartoony injected, just to feel authentic to the original.  For the most part, the trailer gave fans of the classics exactly what they wanted.  There’s some new properties that sound interesting enough.  But, my curiosity was most with Fallout.  While the initial trailer made me both at unease and confused, this one alleviated some of those tensions.  The ability to truly gain a central hub/fort and maintain it is a feature I’ve been waiting for way too long.  Plus, this teams a lot of stress away from modders, while making it more accessible.  Add the fact that the XB1 is PC mod friendly now and I see a pretty bright future for the sequel.  And while we wait, we get an awesome mobile app.  While I’m typically skeptical and even outwardly abrasive towards mobile gaming, Fallout Shelter provides a simple interface and control set, the gameplay is simple but uniquely fallout, and the game is overall charming.  What amounts to maintaining your own vault proves to be highly enjoyable.

As for Ubisoft, some of their properties genuinely fascinated me while others drew more so apathy.  Admittedly, the awkwardness of the hostess didn’t add to things for me.  Assassin’s Creed brought with it a thin layer of hope, after Unity’s disappointment.  We got a look into the politics and world of the mid 19th Century London.  Though, it amounted to Cockney speaking workers revolting against smug bourgeoisie jerks.  If this handles things better than The Order, I’m cool with whatever they through at me.  But, when it comes to “cool” in my book, news of a new South Park game strikes a chord with me.  While the first game was a jam-packed experience full of the show’s quirky and often crude humor, some of the mechanics had quite a few detracting hiccups.  Needless to say, Parker and Stone admitted that, as that was their first major game.  However, they assured that through the lessons they learned, their superhero-themed sequel will be a vast improvement from their previous work.  Beyond that, we got a taste of a new Crew expansion, a gonzo-themed Trials expansion, ANNO, a new Just Dance (complete with a subscription service with rotating new songs) and a heaping of follow-ups to the Tom Clancy universe.  While the latter two didn’t particularly grab me, The Division’s new details seemed quite fascinating.  While the trailer/game play segment looked like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in New York (minus the anomalies) and the obviously scripted acting was really cheesy, the semi-apocalyptic Time Square during holidays struck me as quite entertaining… at least for the fact that the only I’ve been to Time Square is around the holidays, so the nightmare encountered in the trailer rings quite true to me.

While the specific companies gave some good offerings, Sony pulled out some heavy stops.  Unfortunately, I missed the Microsoft conference, so I won’t comment on that one.  And from what I heard from EA, you can pay them more money to subscribe to a shitty service…  Right.  As for Sony, they unleashed heavy guns this time around!  To begin, we finally saw development and the result of The Last Guardian, a project that many had thought was lost in development.  Thanks to Square, we saw a heavily detailed remake of Final Fantasy 7; a game that has more rereleases than the first Resident Evil game.  Needless to say, what we saw was an exciting return to a beloved classic.  And speaking of classics returning, we saw the start of a campaign to create a sequel to the Shenmue series.  While there hasn’t been an entry in nearly 15 years, the creator himself was eager to forge yet another entry as a thank you to long term devoted fans.  Overall, a sweet assortment of entries for Sony’s near future!  COD Black Ops made its return to form with some exclusive goodies for Sony fans.  Seeing as I haven’t cared about COD since the first Modern Warfare, this doesn’t affect me.  To jump back to all things awesome, we saw the dawning of a new IP by the developers of Killzone.  Horizon: Dawn Zero looks into a world of Mad Max-esque tribes fighting mechanical monstrosities in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  As a fan of post-doomsday, as well as reversion to tribal society after social collapse, this will be one I look for.  We see a wide variety of Vita as well as other titles not given too much depth during the presentation before the show comes to a close.  But, that wasn’t the end of it.  We saw an insight (albeit a glitched one) into the next Far Cry, featuring new enemies and a new land.  Plus, Nathan shows his jerk side in this trailer… an interesting development.

Overall, this has been a pretty solid E3 experience for me.  Sure, I happened to miss the less popular of the presentations (because hating EA is commonplace), but that might be for the better.  Also, Microsoft seemed to be quite expected.  That said, their notice on XB1 Fallout being mod friendly was awesome.  Also, upon watching a few highlights later, the trailers for Halo 5, Forza 6, as well as remastered Fable and Gears of War sound like thrilling titles… even if they don’t appeal.  Plus, we had some pretty cool looking indie titles to check out too.  I guess we’ll see where Nintendo as well as a few others go with their presentations.  If all goes well, this will be a great year for gaming!

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