By: Andrew Lister
E3 is still running strong this week, and many of the big announcements seem out of the way. Let's take a little bit of time to talk about the two companies competing for your money, Microsoft and Sony.
I'm not an XBox fanboy. I've played some Halo, and I wasn't that impressed. I have an XBox controller for my computer games, but it just doesn't feel as comfortable as my the Playstation controllers. That being said, there were a few points of interest during their press conference, some good and some bad. Let's talk about a few of the pros and cons of their presentation from Monday, June 13th.
Pro: Sea of Thieves
In the war of pirates vs. ninjas, I'm Team Pirate all the way. So when I was drifting in and out of paying attention to the Microsoft E3 conference, this immediately grabbed my attention.
As you'll see from the video above, the game seems to throw you right into the role of a pirate, and you have to work with other players to man your own pirate ship. By that I don't just mean pressing one button to move the ship like you'd do in a racing game. Instead, you have to set the sails, steer the ship, lookout from the crow's nest, and man the cannons to fight against other groups of players.
I haven't played Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, but I imagine this will end up being one of the most immersive and enjoyable pirate experiences that you can get. Now only if my pals from Tooning Japanese would take a game like this seriously and not try to make me walk the plank.
Will this make me pick up an XBox? Well, there may not be a need, which leads me to my next pro.
Pro: XBox & Windows 10 Cross Play
There was a real push for some of their exclusive games, such as Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2, to be played on both the XBox and PC with seamless issues. Now, it's not fully clear yet if this will be something like what Playstation released recently with the Remote Play option, but if they allow people to purchase the game and play on either without owning an XBox, that would be awesome. Hopefully we'll have more information about the cross-platform functionalities soon enough.
Con: Project Scorpio
I may be alone in this, but I'm not ready for new gaming consoles. I only picked up my PS4 less than a year ago. Before that I clung like a small child to my PS3 and refused to make the leap due in large part to the significant lack of games that I had to have. I made the leap to pick up games like Fallout 4 and Transformers: Devastation, but I still don't really think that there are many games as of yet that have made the purchase really worth it.
Is there really a need for a new console given that there is still so much room for growth? I would say this is a way for Microsoft to catch up in the console war, but I've heard rumors that Sony is developing an updated Playstation, a veritable PS 4.5.
The focus should be on making the best games for their users. Sure, a machine with six teraflops (whatever the hell that is) might lure in new users, but don't they run the risk of alienating those that already shelled out the money for their XBox One?
Ok, enough about the XBox. What about Sony? Sony also held a conference on Monday, and they seemed to put the focus much more on showcasing games. However, even though I'm a Playstation fanboy, not everything came across in a way that got me excited for their future.
Pro: God of War 4
Wow. What can I say about this one? Sony provided us with an amazing musical experience at the start that melded right into the trailer that I've linked above. Take the time to watch or rewatch it. You won't be disappointed.
So, what are the takeaways from this trailer? First, it seems that quite a bit of time has passed. Kratos takes on the role of father here rather than God of War. Also, the focus seems to be on his son, which was hinted at with the experience points being earned for hunting and tracking. This isn't Kratos's first rodeo, so we know he's not the one gaining the XP. I can easily see a switch from Kratos to his son, taking us into a whole new chapter.
Next, did you notice anything strange about the setting? We get a very wintry scene, and when he fights the troll, you can hear the beast say something about Valhalla. Also, notice the runes around the God of War logo? They look suspiciously like Nordic runes to me. So, have we shifted away from the time of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses to the Norse pantheon? If so, I'm really looking forward to what they come up with. Changing things up in this manner will hopefully inject some new life into the franchise.
Finally, the feels, man! I can foresee something really bad happening to Kratos to drive the emotion that we've already seen even further. Perhaps this will mark the end to our violent protagonist?
The sad thing here is that we're left with no indication on when the game will be released. However, we did get a release date for my next pro.
Pro: The Last Guardian
Last E3, I was enamored by the videos from The Last Guardian. As a fan of the work from Team Ico, especially Shadow of the Colossus, I simply cannot wait to get into a new, beautifully rendered world and cry like a baby when they, of course, murder that poor giant puppy-bird creature.
And we don't have to wait long because it finally has a release date! Get your copy on October 25th, 2016!
Pros: So Many Other Games
Where do I even start? We witnessed so many killer videos, and I finally see myself getting my money's worth with my PS4. The problem again is when are we going to see some of these games?
Last year I was also intrigued by Horizon: Zero Dawn. We had a chance to look at more of the game play at Monday's conference, and it looks like a really unique and fun experience. My favorite thing so far about the game is the general feel of the world. It's a really cool blend of a tribal society and advanced technology. I don't know a lot about the story itself yet, but I'm looking forward to a theme of nature vs technology and the dangers inherent with them.
The game that took me by surprise this year on the Sony side was Detroit: Become Human. As soon as I saw the trailer, I immediately thought of Heavy Rain, one of my favorite games from my days of playing my PS3. Come to find out that, yes, this is a brand new game from Quantum Dream.
One of the things that I loved about Heavy Rain was the storytelling, unique atmosphere, and the dialogue choices. This game seems to take that level of choice to a brand new level, crafting a number of completely different gaming experiences depending on what you decide. Watch the trailer above to get a taste of what this game will hopefully end up being.
Also, I love the whole dystopian feel. It reminds me of the whole idea of synths in Fallout 4. Sadly, we don't have a release date, but I'll be picking this one up for sure.
And then there was the new Kojima game starring Norman Reedus of Walking Dead fame. I don't really know what to say about this one. Just check out the odd trailer.
Con: Playstation VR
With all these great games, you would think that Sony knocked it out of the park. However, there was one low point for me, and I'm sure there are several people that will agree with me. That negative is the Playstation VR.
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate gimmicks and gaming innovations. I love what Nintendo did with the Wii remotes and the 3DS dual screen and 3D functions. However, I'm not sold on VR being a legitimate form of gaming.
I've had some experience with VR gaming with Samsung's Gear VR. Now, the games I played were pretty trippy, but it just didn't feel like an intuitive way to actually game. Yes, it was pretty immersive, but the focus seems to be on the graphical experience rather than actually playing the games.
I would hope that the Playstation VR will make game play a major focus; however, I can't imagine playing with something on my head and so close to my eyes for that long of a period of time. If you thought swinging around a Wiimote was dangerous (always wear those wrist straps, kids), can you imagine staggering around without any sense of where you're standing? At best, it's fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos.
Also, does Sony really expect me to drop $399 on a device that's probably going to be a gimmicky add-on and probably give me headaches after a prolonged playing experience? That just seems a bit too high of a price tag, even with the promised 50-some titles by year's end.
I guess I'll let you decide for yourself when it drops on October 13th.
That about does it for now. Check back tomorrow for one more article on my favorite of the 3 big companies, Nintendo! Don't miss out on the rest of E3. Check out today's schedule here, and game on, my friends!
TV & Movies
Henry Huge Pecs
Ray Williams III
Contribute your own writing today!