And we back…or something like that. Once again I’m here to toss out my opinions on this years e3 or more specifically each of the main press conferences. Now last year I only managed to crank out Microsoft’s press conference because they were first and the older I get the less time I have to watch e3 during work hours.
Anywho, this year posed similar problems which has resulted in a slight delay and the entire internet has already digested all of the e3 news there is, regurgitated it, eaten it again and so on ad nauseam. So what could I possible have to add three days later? Well I know the entire internet is sitting out their with baited breath just saying, “well frick sure but until I hear what Seven has to say about it I can’t really form an opinion about it by myself can I?”
Well internet…thats why I’m here.
So as far as housekeeping goes…I give a +/- to each bit of news or game reveal during the press conference to say if I thought it was a positive or negative impact on the entire conference. I know its complicated I should probably go over it again, but this being the internet I’ll just tell you to scroll back up and read this paragraph again.
This is obviously a big year for e3 with two new systems coming out this year its time for Microsoft and Sony to deliver their best shots at taking the almighty consumer dollar this holiday season. So that said, strap it in or on or whatever you do with your straps and lets do this.
+ We open with…dudes on horses. To avoid any possible confusion a hand Kojima productions logo pops up so we know this is a Metal Gear V trailer to kick things off. This looks and sounds like Metal Red Dead Solid. The names for the characters are all like bad Engrish translations like “code talker”. The music has a very decidedly James Bond 80’s twist. Hear the Keifer! Its open world, real time weather, various modes of transport, looks incredible…but its not an Xbox One exclusive (and I’m not going to type Xbox One every single time..how about XB1?) I’ll give this a + anyway because it was awesome looking and the open world aspect should change this game a lot.
– Don Mattrick takes the stage once again to awkwardly walk us through yet another press conference along with Kojima who proceeds to to mumble through a couple sentences and walks off. Was that supposed to be an XB1 endorsement? Don Mattrick always gets a – from me. Seriously, I know he is the president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft but they gotta have someone in Redmond with an ounce of charisma and passion for games that could do a better job hosting these conferences.
Don tells us its all about the games and after the backlash the “Xbone” has received on the internet over the last few weeks they dang well better show something amazing….
13 next gen titles but first 360…Blah who cares right?
As if to answer my prayers, Don calls out Yusuf Mehdi who is a much better host.
– First up its a new XBOX 360 which is supposed to look like the XB1 I guess. Hey didn’t they just do this last year? Or was that two years ago? What no bribery of the media with free 360’s this year? Can I ask any more questions here?
As near as I can tell its just smaller and quieter. Its the same price and available today. So let me get this straight, there was nothing wrong with the 360 slim but they wanted to make a new version that is likely cheaper to produce and sell it for the same price point so they can make more monies. Oh and it has the added side effect of being similar enough to the XB1 that even Microsoft can’t tell them apart apparently…
Think uniformed parents and grandparents are going to be buying little Johnny the wrong Xbox this holiday season?
+ Ahem, where was I. Oh gold members get two free game downloads from now until the XB1 release…oh you mean like Playstation + has done for months? Well its better than nothing for your money.
– He rattles off a list of games which are the standard multi platform hits aka a bunch of games we already know about so that gets a “-“. This is e3 Microsoft, quit treading water.
+ Now finally for something new, World of tanks – well that was unexpected. Not a fan myself but its pretty popular around the world. A play for overseas market? Oh and its free…with Gold of course. I can’t argue with the idea of bringing F2P MMORPG’s to the home consoles even if it is a game like World of Tanks which isn’t well known in the US.
+ Max the curse of brotherhood – oh its max and the magic marker under a new wrapper. I always need more games for my kids. I guess I can go plus here.
– Dark Souls II – Hacky Hacky…bleh… Was that a Bon Jovi song? I’ve heard better things about that game, but the video was awful…it was brown, repetitive and not exclusive to 360
Phil Spencer is out and its now XBOX One time. Games will shut everyone up…I think…
– But not RYSE: Son of Rome – How cool would a GTA themed game based in Roman times be? Running around in a toga stealing chariots and completing missions for the Gods and stuff? Sorry for the sidetrack…is this a God Of War rip off? First person Roman Warfare? Call of Duty Roman Assault. Oh no its third person. Supposedly this is a live gameplay demonstration. No kinect integration being shown off? Come on! I want to say, “Xbox cut that dudes arm off!” This looks like a slightly prettier 360 game to me only with really shiny armor? Alot of the action looks like quick time events… it doesn’t feel like anything new or amazing. Not the way I want to kick off the hype for my new box. Apparently this is made by Crytek. Its funny to hear him say that he couldn’t make this game until now when PC’s are more powerful and Crytek loves to make high end PC games
+/- Killer Instinct – Well that was certainly a shocker. It just feels like Microsoft stole someone else’s toy, and they don’t even have Rare working on it. We only saw 30 seconds so I want to give it a negative but it was a suprise and something that fans have been clamoring for years for so in the context of making your presentation better it gets a plus. Just beware of nostalgia, things were always better in the past.
+ Insomniac has now thrown in with XB1 for Sunset Overdrive. Open world, living world game. They could apparently do it only on XB1 because they have to say that. I just want someone to tell me why they can only do it on XB1 cause I’m not buying it. The video kicks off and its hardcore parkour with beastie boy’s ripoff BGM. Our hero suddenly grabs a shotgun and its go time with graphic headshots. This looks like a Team Fortress 2, meets APB, meets…I dunno what. Should be right up Insomniac’s alley though. I have to note that I could not find a screenshot of this game that wasn’t blurry. Was it moving that fast or does it just not look very good paused?
+ Forza 5 or should I say McLaren P1 Hyper Realistic Racing? I know I know its yet another Forza game. This is starting to be the Madden of racing games. This of course is the beginning of a new era that delivers the real world. Not sure if my real world drives around in a McLaren P1. It does look fricken amazing but it should right? This is what the next gen should make us feel. Blah Blah, cloud this cloud that. He just dropped the phrase driveatar. The game learns how you drive and then drives against other people when you don’t play and gives you credits for your driveatars performance. Okay that sounds really interesting. Wonder if they can pull it off. All in game footage for their trailer and…the cars are way more shiny then they are in real life… how about some real world bug splats on my front bumper? Oh wait, there they are…okay okay it gets a plus just for that.
Next up its Indie showcase time. SOAPBOX TIME!!! Everyone is claiming they are the ones helping indie game developers like its such a good and noble thing. My question is, do indie game developers want to be indie game developers? Or do they want to make bigger and better “non-indie” games without having to report to a publisher, deadlines or shareholders?
– Minecraft Xbox One Edition, um they didn’t even show anything…my kids love Minecraft but that was pointless and didn’t benefit the conference at all.
And Indie gametime is over…
+ Quantum Break – Blurring the lines between a video game and an action tv show. “Running real time on our engine”, notice he didn’t say on Xbox One…because its running on a PC. Wow this is a whole lot confusing but absolutely stunning visually and hey its made by Remedy.
+/- Episodic murder mystery D4. Holy crap, when I saw D4 I thought this was a sequel to the D and D2 games from the 90’s but it can’t be because even though I distinctly remember it, apparently there was no D3. Seeing cell shaded looks out of place after the ultra realism of the prior games. Not enough here for a rating.
+ Project Spark. Hey he has a surface! This is the XB1 take on Little Big Planet methinks. Holy crap 45 minutes in and we just had our first awkward Kinect voice command. Its been ignored until now. Strange considering how it was the focus of the last conference. DO I smell a one trick pony? Using smartglass you can edit your stages. It looks really cool but I wonder just how open it really is. Almost feels like an RPG maker where you just select from some available items and plug them in. Big plus if this is really as easy and open as they make it.
– I’m really not interested in this smart glass/smart match integration stuff but it may be cool for others. Oh this Killer Instinct fight is horrible thanks to the two players. Tell me he did not just say to her “Just let it happen it will be over soon”…Sexual harassment on the big stage ladies and gentleman!
– Game DVR to share clips. Do people really want to do this? The woman says it best “How many friends does this guy really have to share with”. Exactly.
+ Okay thats over with. Now they are getting rid of Microsoft points, that gets a round of applause.
– Crimson Dragon, from the panzer dragoon people. Um its silent…nice. Way to ruin a possible good game preview. That game litterally just broke the momentum of the conference.
+ Something from Capcom now. Oh by the way, XB1 is the only platform that allows them to make their vision. Dead Rising 3 . Gets a big round of applause. I”m less enthused. For me the first two dead rising games were so singular in focus they weren’t any fun after 5 minutes. Bash Zombies with odd objects in a shopping mall, rinse and repeat. And Zombies, aren’t we over this yet? Use it as a means to tell a story ala walking dead, not an excuse to beat meaningless creatures up with wrenches. The graphics aren’t the prettiest either. Oh its an open world I guess that is better than a shopping mall. Not my cup of tea but the audience dug it up.
– Witcher 3 – He did not say exclusive. Free roaming, open world…sensing a theme here. Optional voice commands. Probably more of the same with better graphics. I’m actually going to give this a negative here as they didn’t show me why this game would be fun and its always had, and will still have, a PC first attitude. Oh and pretending its a big AAA RPG title like Skyrim or something is cute.
– Battlefield 4 – This is definitely not exclusive. Technical difficulties abound and the conference comes to a screeching halt. The crowd starts heckling. And after a couple of minutes it starts up again. What can I say, it looks like Battlefield. I’m getting a little tired of the military shooter stuff and hyping exclusive DLC months before release date just gives me a bitter taste. Oh you mean you had already planned and developed that content, you just thought it would be fun to bend me over and screw me for more money is that it?.
– Why is it so tiny? Below…um okay. To short and small to appreciate.
– Black Tusk Studio. Nothing quite like telling everyone you created this top level talent studio with the prime focus of creating AAA titles (or how they would rather not put it, create the next halo for us) and then have them not show anything at the biggest show of the year . You know what happens when you put together a studio of all top level talent…they never produce anything. Apparently you need the monkeys to actually type out the code.
+ Next Gen Halo cutscene…and nothing else. Well of course they are going to have Halo, its like Mario for Nintendo. If they didn’t have it they would just catch grief from everyone. I’ve noticed throughout this conference that everyone claps every time someone says 60 frames per second. I think I would just fill my conference with that.
Can’t believe they didn’t end with that. I guess its because they had nothing to say about it.
Launch in November for $499…sheesh really Microsoft? Was that the lemon juice in the paper cut that is DRM and internet connectivity? Hear that sound? That’s the sound of thousands of people clicking on PS4 preorders…
+ Finally its Titanfall by Respawn entertainment, aka the call of duty guys that got too big for their britches. FPS with mechs because why the crap not. I honestly don’t know what all the hubub is about. If this wasn’t Respawn’s big first game I doubt anyone would care much about it. Cloud computing, we couldn’t do it without Microsoft, blah blah blah….yeah you got your MS mandated talking points out of the way. Lots of talky talky in the game about Hard Points. Apparently you gotta defend them.
Okay so summary time. I admit, I kinda wanted to see the firestorm on the internet if MS came out and pooed the screwch here. The interwebs is so jaded about the evil machinations of DRM that they can’t see the forest for the trees and want to give MS a bad review regardless of what they showed.
Me? I’ll be less biased. I guess I should start off by saying that my system would always be connected to the internet and I very rarely by used games. So if you are looking for “Xbone” bashing I’m not going to give it to you. That said, this whole DRM/used game thing is about more than just the Xbox One, its about the very direction of the industry.
Look, this isn’t being pushed on us by Microsoft. Its being pushed by the publishers and has been for years. A few months back all of the stories pointed to both Sony and Microsoft taking a similar stance on Used Games in order to appease the publishers and take the industry in a more software as a service direction, which all software is moving in that direction I might add.
Its hardly Microsoft’s fault that they were dumb enough to take the first shots at used games while Sony just sat in the background, taking notes on everything the prospective customers were saying. Then Sony saw the reaction from the gaming community, probably panicked and yanked all DRM/Used games restrictions from their system (oh and then also announcing a price $100 cheaper than XB1). Now I don’t know if Sony is really that crafty to take advantage of MS like that, but they certainly responded to the situation about they best way they could. They caught Microsoft with their pants down and decided to kick them in the delicates while they were at it.
Of course, if we forget about all of that and just focus on the games, which is all MS really wanted us to do. I mean really is that so hard? (its sarcasm people) Anywho if we forget all of that then MS really nailed this show…into the floor….with a giant spike. Assuming you know what I’m talking about.
The games were here and the games were great. Most were even XBOX exclusive, a problem that has always plagued MS at past conferences. If MS would just talk about the games, then we would have nothing else to worry about. But they keep opening their big mouths and causing problems for themselves. It would behoove them methinks to be upfront with all of their XB1 plans for the upcoming year to get that out of the way and then talk about games to make up for it.
And what was with the lack of Kinect functionality from these games? Wasn’t that supposed to be a big part of the new system? Bigger than voice commands to change the channel I mean? We saw smartglass being used way more than Kinect. Odd to say the list.
All of that said, I do think MS did about as good a job as they could have short of standing up and saying “Ha Ha we take it all back, it was a joke we didn’t mean any of that stuff!”. They aren’t going to do that though.
If we just focus on the games…I give MS a B+ leaning towards an A-. However, if you take into consideration that they did nothing to alleviate anyone’s concerns over the internet connectivity and used game DRM…and then there is the price…well then I have to go with a C+. So we can grade that as a C+ or A- for those of you scoring at home….I also reserve the right to change my mind once the system launches in November…
At least that’s how I see it.