Tuesday, June 10, 2014

E3 2014: Reaction to Microsoft and Sony Press Conferences

Just sat through the two major press conferences for E3 2014. Without Nintendo yet for comparison, but perhaps I'll write again if anything notable comes up during their 'digital event', which is a few hours from now. (It's going to be today at 12 midnight, Philippine time)

Microsoft had a strong showing. While I will admit they didn't have anything mind-blowing, or the type of 'shocking' announcements that these types of press events become memorable for....they did bring a good list of exclusive games. Most notably, the game that grabbed my attention (and seemingly everyone else's) is Sunset Overdrive. Part Dead Rising, Part Infamous, Part Ratchet and Clank....the game is very colorful and a big departure from the usual dreary, bloody games we get year after year. Yes it still has some adult-level violence but at least the presentation isn't the usual 'guy-in-military-fatigues' fare that all companies seem to be churning out for consoles lately. Sometimes I wonder if console gaming is a huge recruitment program for the US military....

Anyway, yeah, Sunset Overdrive is the most interesting game in all of E3, at least right now. I'll wait until after Nintendo's show before I say it's the game of E3 this year. But it's damn close to winning that award in my mind. 

The other notable game on Microsoft's roster is Forza Horizon 2. It's notable not just because it's a pretty, pretty game....it's the fact that MS has been able to churn out two quality racing games in the span of two years. That's pretty fantastic if you ask me. Today's game development cycles are ridiculous, spanning years on end and numerous delays. Microsoft being consistent with the release of games in the Forza series really shows their pedigree in game development in that genre. I recall Forza 5 (at E3 2013) was a really well made racing game compared to Driveclub, and for them to have no delays compared to Sony with their 'launch' racer is quite an accomplishment. 

Lastly, there's the Master Chief Collection. Largely spoiled by the internet, everyone knew it was coming but hearing it from MS is pretty fantastic as well. You have every Halo game, remastered in one big package for 60 bucks. It's a great deal. Looking forward to getting that when I pick up an Xbox One. 

Now, onto Sony's show. They put a lot of money into 'the Order 1886', which is a really beautiful game. But I can't help but compare it to the reveal for Gears of War way back in the days of the PS3 vs. 360. The Order feels like Gears of War in terms of what they want to accomplish. But in terms of delivering the pretext, the storyline, why you're playing the game.....Sony didn't do a very good job with that. What they showed is a very beautiful, photorealistic game....but they didn't add more to the message. They should have explained who this moustached-guy is, why it has to be in 1886....what's the point of it? Yes there's a zombie-werewolf thing over there, but why is that? I recall with Gears MS went out of their way to say the monsters in Gears were these things 'that came out of the ground and destroyed most of the world...' Yes, it's rudimentary storyline, but what is good about MS's presentation for Gears is that they do a good job providing the backdrop for everything. I wish Sony did the same with the Order, but they didn't and that leaves The Order feeling like a very generic shooter game. 

Then there's Bloodborne....it looks like its going to be like Dark Souls. So count me out. The game's too hard. I'm a father now and I ain't got time for that....

Finally, Uncharted 4. This is a 2015 game. I bet it will be delayed to 2016. 

The other games they showed were indie games and multiplatform games. I hate it when these guys show multiplatforms. (i mean, i hate it when BOTH MS and Sony show multiplatforms in their press conferences). Why? Because these type of games don't really add more value to their platform since you could always buy it on the other console. The third parties that are pitching these multiplatform games are already sending out a good message on these games; i don't think the console makers have to show them unless the game is exclusive to them. 

Anyway, Batman Arkham Knight was really interesting. The gameplay with the Batmobile looks like fun and the city feels much larger than in previous installments. It was a good showing for that specific game, but in terms of adding more value to the PS4, it doesn't do much. 

Overall, I want to be more positive about the Playstation 4 than I ended up being after watching their E3 2014 show. I think right now if you want great multiplatform games, get a PS4 to get the sharpest version. But if you want great exclusives, get an Xbox One. Thank God they got rid of their DRM policies....

Nintendo's show is a few hours from now. I hope they show something worth talking about. Otherwise maybe this would be my last posting about E3 2014 this year.