People complain. It’s the internet, so that’s expected. I don’t agree with the policies Microsoft was going to put in to place with their always-on internet/DRM issues, and now that that’s over, I can stop being irritated and move on to focus on what matters most – the games. You know, that thing Nintendo has been doing. Forever.
Now don’t be fooled and think for a second that Microsoft did this as any sort of "favor" to the fans. No, they did it for themselves in order to save face and and bring back some of the sales they potentially lost with their overall lack of clarity and consumer-focus. This is a business, after all. They make money. That’s what they do.
So moving on to the games, E3 2013 is finally over as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I don’t care about which console "won", or who had the better presentation because E3 is just a giant marketing event for companies to sell us their new products. It’s a giant multi-day infomercial for gamers, after all. But we all leave excited over something new, right?
The biggest surprise for me was Mega Man being introduced as part of the new Super Smash Bros. roster, but the show stealer for me was Destiny. I love the Halo series, especially going through the campaign on Legendary with a few friends. Destiny seems to capture the sci-fi atmosphere that I enjoyed with Halo and Mass Effect, with the multiplayer co-op of Borderlands on a much larger scale. While most FPS tend to focus more on the competitive multiplayer aspect over the campaign itself, I want to applaud Bungie for showing gamers what they can do with each other rather than against.
Microsoft took the stage first and finally decided to sit down and focus on the games. As far as exclusives go, the king of kings has to be Titanfall; the upcoming FPS from Respawn. Titanfall hasn’t really delved much in to how their single player campaign will run, but I’m curious to see how their innovations plays out in the competitive multiplayer realm. Generally when I see yet another FPS online shooter, I roll my eyes and snub it immediately, but for some unknown reason there is something about Titanfall holding my interest.
Not only will their PVP matches have single player campaign flare in the form of mission debreifing and showing your team land on the battlefield, but players have the option to battle as a Pilot or in a mech; known as Titans. On paper, it’s easy to say that a mech will always win against a human bullet sponge, but Titanfall’s pilots have parkour-style agility and jetpacks to help them move around the battlefield. Titans obviously have an armor advantage and will most likely deliver a heavier punch with larger arms. See what I did there? Larger arms? Like bigger guns.. ah, hell, nevermind. Next.
The biggest disappointment for me came from Microsoft in the form of Killer Instinct, which seems to not only play like a stiffer version of Street Fighter IV, but is embracing a free-to-play model on the Xbox One. You’ll only get to play with Jago and then have to buy each fighter individually, which may have worked if Killer Instinct were still relevant in any way at present time.
The last KI game was in 1994 and there have been countless innovations in the fighting genre since then. I also assume that everyone on the roster will (hopefully) play differently from KI2. Will we get to demo the characters for a few fights? Will there be a bundle to buy everyone at once? How responsive are the controls? None of this has been answered yet and Killer Instinct is only keeping afloat with me based on nostalgia alone.
The only Sony exclusive that I was impressed with was Infamous: Second Son and I’m not a big Infamous guy. The character models were spot on, I liked the narrative storytelling in the trailer and the gameplay looks really slick with the new protagonist.
Sony also had a big focus on their relationship with indie developers, allowing them to self-publish their own games unlike the Xbox One. Oddworld HD looks fantastic, but Transistor had my favorite trailer in all of E3. From the Persona-esque art style to the soundtrack, I was hooked for the entire ride. Gameplay still looks a bit like their previous effort, Bastion, but I haven’t seen an extensive gameplay demo yet. Don’t Starve would make me gouge out my eyes before enjoying their rogue-like Minecraft approach to survival.
Nintendo opted out of a full blown press conference this year in favor of displaying live demos while saving their big announcements for Nintendo Direct; their online conference held the day after on June 11th. Nintendo played it a little safe this year showing off the usual first party titles, but it’s hard to imagine Nintendo taking any huge risks.
Nintendo is a company that knows what works when it comes to crafting video games. Every title in their respective franchise builds upon the foundation with new gameplay mechanics, graphical evolutions and take advantage of their new console’s hardware whether it be the 3DS or Wii U. Nintendo also opted to reach out to the fans this year with the Nintendo Experience at local Best Buy stores, letting fans play the same demos that E3 attendees were checking out.
Nintendo introduced a new IP in The Wonderful 101, which is pretty much Pikmin with superheroes no matter how many times they tell us otherwise. Pikmin 3 is scheduled to release this year with new multiplayer modes and gameplay has been shown extensively online. Bayonetta 2 also seems to be coming along rather nicely, as I was a huge fan of the original. Mario Kart 8 stole the show for me as it looks beautiful and seems to improve on the old formula with zero gravity races. Super Mario 3D World looks kind of.. boring to me. I’m sure it’ll be great when I play it, but the concept seems a bit dull at this moment in time. Wind Waker HD looks fantastic and will definitely be a day one purchase, but I wish they would have shown Zelda U. Ah well, there is always next month’s Nintendo Direct, right?
I guess the irony of this post is that I cut off the subject as being old news so we can focus on games, but I ended up giving opinions about games shown at E3 which is also old news. Woops!
Either way, here’s to moving forward and avoiding the puddles of urine left by the console pissing contest. Let the games begin!