Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Final E3 impressions

Ok, I've had time to relax since E3, watch all the videos and process the information.

So it doesn't ALL suck.

I guess if we're looking at the way games play it was actually a very good show. Co-op is really getting a lot of attention with titles like Overstrike and the new design for Brothers in Arms.

And like I said before, they're very interesting in terms of gameplay but I really do wish that they'd start being more creative with their characters and storylines. I'm not asking for much, I think. A simple variation would be enough to make this more interesting for me. As it is, the games look boring. I wouldn't get them just for the gameplay.

But enough of that. Overall the show as interesting, we got to see some very interesting games, and the Old Republic is looking better and better every time I see it. I sill think it will have to work hard to get subscriptions. I'm a die-hard Star Wars fan and right now I'm not even considering a subscription. A smart move for them would be to go free-to-play right on launch with some sort of payment model. But with the Deathstar-sized investment EA have put in the game, I doubt they'd do it.

Mass Effect 3 is also looking great. I really hope they manage to create a better story this time. The second game literally had no story at all, which made the whole game rather pointless. It was still awesome, strangely enough, but I do hope that the third game will make the plot rich again.

I'm also very excited for id software's Rage. the game looks great and it's really looking to freshen up the multipayer experience. Should be good.

Biggest surprise of the show has to go to the new Tomb Raider. Even though the gameplay seemed every bit as annoying as that of Dead Space (meaning clumsy movement and bothersome QTEs), the setting and atmosphere are really impressive. they're going for a whole new feel for the game and I like it. Lara was moaning just a tad too much throughout the gameplay demo, it seemed to me, but it was still great to watch.

Can't say anything by Activision was remotely interesting. MW3 was as boring as ever and it was the only gameplay video I didn't want to watch all the way through. I seriously don't know how or why this is the best-selling FPS of all time. Surely even those who know nothing about games and only get this one every year would be tired of this crap by now?

The show was OK, despite some disappointments, and there are more games I'm excited about now than there were before the show. That's a good thing, right?

Monday, June 6, 2011

E3, EA ,Egads!

I'm watching the EA E3 press conference, and I'm shocked by the crap being unloaded there. I didn't watch it from the beginning and I haven't seen the other press conferences or what other companies have to offer but I'm guessing it's very similar.

Everything is just so predictable and dull, not just the games but their trailers as well. The Sims Social had this nauseating trailer with two dumb girls talking about dating a guy through the new Sims on Facebook. Seriously. It was beyond stupid. When one of the girls suggested the other to build a guy if she can't find a good one, I just didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Then there were two games, one was a fantasy game (I forgot the name already)that used just about every fantasy trope it could in the trailer - from the land that seemed like it came from a fantasy name generator to the highly original story of saving the world. Then there was a game called Overstrike which was another collection of cliches; everything there was something we've heard before, and that's including the soundtrack. It's all about a wise-cracking team of professionals who use high-tech equipment to - *SNORE*

Gameplay-wise, I can only hope there might be something vaguely refreshing about them. The trailers didn't really show anything too interesting. But why do the stories have to be such throwaway plots? Seriously, I'm not asking for all games to have the cultural impact of Star Wars, but let's freshen things up a bit with stories, not just mechanics! These two games were sad in how banal they seemed.

The rest of it was sports games which also had dumb presentations and were even more boring for me. It was a poor show for the most part.

Of course they saved the best for last with Battlefield 3. In this case there's nothing to say except that the game really looks amazing and taking the single-player to a different level. Even though BF3 suffers the same weak story as the previous games I mentioned, it at least exhibits far more engaging gameplay and a whole new level of immersion in the game world. They didn't show much multiplayer footage but what they did show of the game was impressive.

I didn't catch the Mass Effect 3 portion of the presentation, but I read that the big innovation is Kinect voice control. Woopty-friggin'-doo.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hail to the geriatric king, baby!

I played Duke Nukem Forever yesterday.

I don't think I can even begin to wrap my mind around that fact. Even as I was going through the demo it was like watching another trailer or teaser... like this was just another one of those old trailer or images we'd see, getting our hopes up before we'd hear nothing else about it for a year.

We've become the ever-waiting wife for Duke; checking the mail every day for some word from him, and fearing the day the message will come that he won't be coming back. Of course, we did get that message but by some miraculous and generous act Duke is finally on his way home. But do we want him back? Or have we moved on by now?

I've known for a while that DNF would never be able to live up to the hype of its 12-year development cycle. That's not really fair when I actually think about it. It's not as if this is the first game the original developers began to work on all those years ago. That's kind of why it's taken so long to begin with. The game kept getting scrapped and restarted; getting a new engine every time, new gameplay, new approach to design. I don't know how long this specific incarnation of DNF has been in development. The problem with this release for me isn't living up to any hype - I'm not expecting it to - the problem is that ultimately this is a game that isn't finished.

I remember Gearbox saying they were surprised by how much of the game was ready when they got it, but we don't really know what was going to be there. That's not to say that the game would have been better at all -it likely would still be in development and not even close to release - but the state the game is in now is a kind of half-existence. It's not really ready, it's a ghost of that it wanted to be.

That's fine by me. I just want to play it, get it out of my system, and hopefully a brand new Duke title can be made now. I just can't help but think that the game should have been released for a nominal fee. Something that everyone who's been waiting for this game could pay and not worry about it actually being worth it. I could be worrying for nothing. Maybe the full game is actually incredibly good. If the demo is any indication, however, then the game somehow doesn't feel right. It's like a new building before people move in. It looks nice but it's like there's nothing there.

I will put my judgements on hold until I've played the entire game, but I'm keeping my expectations low. What Gearbox did was admirably and inspirational - taking this game from its grave and reviving it, polishing, and releasing it, but asking full price for a game that is not really a game - a game that's just out to be out - is off-putting. I still hope I'm wrong about it and, to be honest, despite a lot of faults, I enjoyed the demo quite a bit. I was both surprised by some gameplay elements and amused by design choices and dialogue. So there is hope. At least as far as I'm concerned. I've pre-ordered the game because for me this really is the culmination of a a wait that's almost half of my life, but I will have to wait and see if the game was actually worth the money.