Things have been rather busy in the life of your everyday neighborhood Laymen’s Gamer and now that all the smoke has cleared from E3, I’m coming back to give my own personal take on the proceedings before the internet is simply inundated with the same thing from every gamer and industry writer with internet access. I will do something more in-depth but right now I’m giving you my basic rundown of my basic thoughts on the conference:
Sony: Strong Arming Everyone and Everything
Let’s be honest; Sony was extremely reactionary to everything prior to the conference and they acted as though everyone doubted them and everyone had been bad-mouthing them for years; I don’t pay too much attention to competitive marketing strategies when it comes to their advertisements and such, it just seems too catty for me. Aside from their game-related reveals and specifying details about the new PlayStation system, everything seemed to be calling Microsoft out on something and telling everyone about how Sony does it better. This would have come off as shallow and spiteful if Sony didn’t back up their words… thing is, they backed up everything they said and were weirdly honest about their practices, anticipating press and end user response, especially on the subjects of microtransactions and DRM.
Their presentation was extremely sharp, poignant, strong, and resolute. They were not going to be told that their system was not going to be the premier system of this generation, even going as far as to say – “Fine, you don’t think we’re the best? We’ll even sell it to you for a hundred less than the competition.” Sony has some real balls to do what they’ve done but they’ve seriously impressed me, even if they’ve limited multiplayer gameplay to PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Microsoft: Making Strong First Impressions but Falling Short
On the other side of the unreleased-system coin, we have Microsoft – you have to give them credit for going on the path less traveled, going on the path less liked, and making these statements first. They were just as ballsy about their statements – they were all about playing catch-up to the big boys and doing their thing in a unique way. The main problem that really soured their image is something Sony is kind of familiar with, in the past: they were more concerned with doing things their way and not concerned with their public image. This was a double-edged blade because not only did it damage Microsoft’s presentation but it also allowed Sony to make theirs look that much better.
They had a good number of exclusives that really ramped things up for them and, for the first time, I’m actually considering getting a Microsoft system. It feels as though Microsoft is finally getting a feel for the gaming market and is making a more generally marketable device – while it seems to be alienating gamers it might provide a wider market for people who want more than a gaming console, much like “hardcore gamers” feel like the Wii and most Nintendo consoles are children’s toys. It’s just not following the market trend specifically for gaming and it’s getting a lot of negative press for it – however, though, I’m eagerly awaiting to see how it pans out for Microsoft this time around.
Nintendo: The Good, The Bad, and The Mostly Absent
I know that the Wii U’s release has already come and gone but what the hell was with Nintendo’s conference at E3, this year? It was like one big live Nintendo Direct episode. We got tons of great game reveals but nothing really to write home about – nothing that wasn’t completely expected.
All The Best: The Games, The Glory, The Mudslinging
As with almost every E3 that reveals next generation hardware, we all got to get a glimpse of what the new hardware will be capable of pushing out in terms of cinematics and gameplay. The games themselves are what’s important and, bottom line, are what everyone came for. There was absolutely no shortage and I’m extremely excited to see what’s upcoming – there’s lists everywhere on the internet so I’ll spare you but there were a few surprises, for me.
First off, the biggest cop-out in a long time come in from Square-Enix, simply turning its ages-old-but-no-closer-to-release Final Fantasy Versus XIII into a proper numbered title in Final Fantasy XV. It’s to be seen whether or not this was planned all along but all I keep thinking about is how they simply copped out instead of accepting responsibility for the fact that they started work on a game simply too big for its britches. I think all they did was give themselves property to take more time with the game. It felt like a dick move, to me.
Speaking of dick moves, let’s talk Killer Instinct: this was announced for the XBOX ONE and things seemed announced until one of my greater fears was confirmed – the proliferation of mobile-like microtransactions as a fundamental part of the game. I can’t say I really appreciate a free-to-play game that bleeds our money away from us in the form of microtransactions. I don’t mind buying a game and having the choice to purchase extras but give me a game for free and potentially bleed my money away from me by giving me only one character in a fighting game for free? That’s fine if you like the one you’re given but what if you’re unsure and you want to find a warrior to perfect? You have to buy more or buy them all, including whatever else they want you to purchase. I do not like this one bit and it’s just going to mean more profits for the guys who will soon water their games down so that way the only people who are targeted are the impulse buyers. This is not a good trend and I don’t support it – so much so that a franchise I used to love means garbage to me now.
Kingdom Hearts 3 was kind of a surprise – not in the sense that a series that had been known for Street Fighter syndrome (the inability to count to three, that is) got another game but rather that it got another actually numbered entry – and it seemed to offer an upgraded dose of more of the same. Disney seemed to want to not stop the milking there as they have a Skylanders clone on the way in Disney Infinity.
The only completely positive surprise, for me, was the announcement of a new game in the Mirror’s Edge universe. Not much is known about the game other than it’ll come out… “when it’s ready.” I loved that line as it seriously pokes fun at all this hoo-hah that surrounds building anticipation and dates and expectations… it’ll come out when it comes out and it’ll be what it is. I like that idea.
Conclusion: Missteps and Misunderstandings
There was a lot of mudslinging that went around, causing some dramatics but on the whole I would say that this year goes down as one of my favorite E3 conferences to date. It gave me the right amount of chills, dramatics, and laughter to keep me going, not to mention your requisite reveals and suspicion. Honestly, I liked the more subdued version of E3 that came around this year, focusing less on flash and bang and more on content.
This was a good year for E3 and 2014 is going to be a great year for gaming.
Time for me to shut up and play The Last of Us. First-impressions review to come.