My Gaming Diary: E3 Day One or… The Battle of Who Could Care Less (for the most part)
I used to get so excited every year when E3 came around. That was the time that you would learn what games that publishers had planned for the remainder of the year and, at least for me, a time to start to get excited about those games. Of course, this year there have already been some big announcements: Information about Dragon Age: Inquisition has started to come out (the trailer looks promising, but I’m hoping for more RPG this time), there’s apparently a huge Halo compilation (with more graphics!) on the way, yet another Batman game and – surprise – there’s another Assassin’s Creed. I really don’t want this post to just be a screed about some sort of hatred of sequels. I don’t hate sequels. They are – for the most part – what makes all entertainment industries go. They are often high reward, low risk endeavors that – hopefully – let publishers take on more exciting projects.
So, you didn’t care about the stuff at E3? Like, all of it?
That’s not quite fair, either, it’s just that I think a lot of the stuff making big news is hardly news at all.
I mean, I have no doubt that the games above will likely be well-made, compelling videogames, but I also haven’t seen anything to make me think that are actually doing anything interesting in the space, either. Still, in reading day one coverage (I know there’s a lot more to come) I have come across a few games that look particularly promising to me. Much of what I know about the games I’ve learned from reading Polygon’s coverage of E3 so you can certainly get more information about the games over there if you like. Or don’t, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor looks like it might actually bring something interesting into the increasingly-stale Lord of the Rings video game world:
I’ve put the Polygon video above because I couldn’t find a proper gameplay trailer released from E3 yet. Still, I think that the trailer would be pretty bland without explaining the interesting stuff about the game (i.e., that Orcs you don’t defeat might show back up to become later enemies as the world progresses) might undercut what I find Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor to be particularly interesting. I admit that a ‘Boromir-like’ guy that somehow goes all Mega Man and takes powers from Orcs. I am not entirely convinced that is canon, but it at least looks like an interesting take on the Assassin’s Creed formula. With that said, unless there is some serious promise in the whole ‘the Orcs you fail to defeat become your enemies and come back later,’ which could give the game some procedural-generated story legs, I might well just tire of it like I do most other mass market actioners. Also, I get the feeling that what appears to be basic disrespect for LotR lore will probably drive more than a few people up a wall. Or maybe it will turn out to be very faithful to LotR and what do I know? It’s not so much the combat I’m excited about, but that promise of feuds building over time. I hope they can deliver.
Evolve, from original Left 4 Dead studio Turtle Rock, is still looking extraordinarily promising. Left 4 Dead is still one of my favorite games of recent years that has the ‘hunters’ fight against one massive super monster instead of a whole horde of zombies. I am extremely hopeful that Turtle Rock can get it right and will likely be better if you get a full contingent of people working together, but that was true with Left 4 Dead as well. The game is still due out October 21, 2104, so we’re only about four months from it being released. Plus, I mean, it looks just incredible. My adrenaline is pumping just looking at it. Now if only I had four friends… I mean, four friends who would want to play this…
I have always found Fable games to be tremendously disappointing. This started with the first one, which I bought at release, I think, and quickly realized it was not the amazing living, breathing world that I was promised. The follow-up was certainly an improvement, but I found the story to be boring and I got tired of just doing (rather good) combat after a while. There was a lot of widget hunting to be done and the humor was occasionally, well, humorous. But the idea of using that same combat (which, again, I’ve always found to be the best part of the games) but instead of an RPG uses it to allow four players to play together against a fifth player that is, basically, playing a strategy game. The fifth player will apparently see the world from an overhead view and will be able to add new obstacles into the environment to try to defeat the good guys. Rad.
I wrote all of the above before Sony’s press conference and it actaulyl had a few interesting bits of news. First: the From Software game that was previously referred to as Project Beast appears to actually be called Bloodborne. It’s from the director of Dark Souls and Demons Souls (But not Dark Souls 2) and it looks to be, basically, Van Helsing meets Demons Souls. That’s not a bad thing, I loved Dark Souls and Demons Souls so much that this is a sequel/spin-off I can get behind. Also, Grim Fandango coming to PS4/Vita is awesome. I’ll probably buy it to play it again, as it’s been years. It’s the peak of adventure games in so many ways. Glad a new audience will finally get a chance to play it. Also, there’s Abzu which apparently has floaty, melodic music and a shark:
That’s not nothing. I mean, I can’t tell quite what’s going on there but I love the art style (ah, I see now, it is made by the studio founded by the guy that was the art director for Journey which is one of the most gorgeous games ever). Also, I’m digging pretty hard on No Man’s Sky, the new procedurally generated space exploration game from the developer of Joe Danger.
Hopeful for the future
Certainly, for me, there is more to like coming out of the Sony coverage than everything else I saw today. I mean, I don’t know how much of that stuff is exclusive but they’re the ones that showed it to me, so they’re the ones that I associate it with for the time being until I can get actual information. That said, it’s just the first day and I’m sure all of the awesome stuff is still to come. I’m interested in seeing what Mario Maker is but Nintendo’s press conference isn’t until tomorrow. Plus, the luck ducks who are at the conference probably won’t have time to talk about what they’ve seen on the floor until later in the week, so I’m sure there will be some things that make my jaw drop. Something I missed? I guess I’ve got comments for that sort of thing.