Obligatory E3 Post

E3! It had several Good Things and no Embarrassing Things. No, I didn’t see the EA or Ubisoft conferences, why are you asking?

Bethesda

Bethesda opened with Doom. This incarnation of Doom is maybe too gory, with bloody executions that just look like they slow it down unnecessarily. Are shotguns not enough for this crazy modern world??? And why are the fiery depths of Hell so…brown? Why does the trailer end with a monster killing the hero?

Bethesda also showed off TF2-like Shooter #73 and a short film called Dishonored 2 before getting to Fallout 4. Fallout 4’s crafting looks great and so does THAT DOG. OH MY GOSH LOOK AT THAT DOG. WHO’S A GOOD DOG? WHO’S A GOOD DOG? TODD HOWARD’S A GOOD DOG. I MEAN DEV. OH MY GOSH DOGGGGG.

Bethesda: the only developer who can announce a free-to-play mobile game and receive earnest hype in return!

I think they may have announced a card game or MOBA.

Microsoft

Microsoft opened with a short film call Recore. It was about a robot dog and it ended sadly. I assume every dog movie ends sadly until I learn otherwise. Then there was an Halo? I think? Halo features no dogs.

There were two tactical military shooters and TF2-like Shooter #84 and a sequel to the gritty new Tomb Raider reboot I forgot existed. Gears of Four is a military shooter starring a protagonist who touches an alien pod for…some…reason? Every demo ends by showing the main character in mortal peril. It’s a cliffhanger, of a kind, except not really since the resolution will be “you kill/escape it like you do every monster/challenge in the game”.

Rare returned with a collection of their old games and a game of their own that involves very little dancing. Fable Legends is a MOBA but I don’t think they announced any card games. There was a car.

The best part was their montage of indie games. Cuphead looks amazing! Ashen looks WHERE ARE THEIR FACES AHHHHHH. And of all games that could get a spiritual successor, I didn’t consider Army Men as a likely candidate. Yet there it was: an Army Men game slid into the montage.

(If I had kept doing 32 Bits, I would be playing at least two Army Men games in 1999 alone. They became an almost monthly thing.)

They did a demo of the impressive Hololens technology for Minecraft. Then they showed us how it looks to anyone not wearing a hololens: a guy dorkily gesturing at a table. Dorkishness has always been VR’s biggest flaw.

Nintendo

Oh fuck Nintendo still has to do theirs, right? Well the World Championship was fun until Cosmo, the Wizard-that-was-promised, struggled on the final stage. New games included Super Kaizo Mario and Blast Ball, a form of gun soccer. The host joked that this is what it takes to make soccer popular in America. Well, I see plenty of soccer fans here in my corner of the United States. They like Chelsea, Manchester United, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea or Chelsea. I saw a family of Newcastle fans once and I felt so bad for them. Anyway Nintendo was good and also gun soccer?

Sony

Holy fuck.

Horizon: Zero Dawn pits cavemen against robot dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic future. It feels like a concept you’d see in a twelve-year old’s scribblings, and that’s wonderful. Horizon is so fucking metal.

There was more information on No Man’s Sky. This game lets you fight in space and explore planets in a huge galaxy. It is also very metal. The pan back through thousands and thousands of unvisited planets is magical.

I don’t know what Dreams is. It is not metal at all, but it’s pretty cute. Firewatch looks interesting, but its metal-ness is not quite certain yet.

I didn’t see most of this one. But I heard of it. Of The Last Guardian‘s triumphant return. Holy shit it’s real. It exists. Nothing can top that. Nothing. Nothing can top the reveal of that wonderful hyenagiraffebirddog.

Well what else is there besidFINALFANTASYVIIREMAKE!!!

I’ve seen grumbling about this because the best choice you can make is choosing to shame people for being excited. What if the game turns out to be bad? I saw someone on Twitter once compare it to not smiling in your wedding pictures because you’d look like a fool if you get divorced later.

Apparently we’ve given in to our past, or regressed somehow, by remaking Final Fantasy VII. This is garbage. Retro remakes are hardly a new trend. When Final Fantasy VII was new, remakes of 80s games like Frogger, Asteroids and Pong sat beside it on the shelf. You don’t remember them, though. Just like how everyone who lived in the 70s remembers seeing The Godfather in theaters, not Airport ’77. The present’s everything is being judged in comparison to the past’s highlight reel. Anyway, Final Fantasy VII is still very popular and Square can make all the money by remaking it.

Saying that HD re-releases of old games, as I’ve seen said before, is somehow destroying the industry is outrageously stupid. It’s like telling Universal to stop restoring Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil because those dollars would be better spent on a new movie. To spin any attempt to revive old games as a nostalgia ploy, to attack old games as unworthy of our attention, is to devalue gaming’s history.

I do worry about them changing the tone. Final Fantasy VII is a broad melodrama with strong elements of camp. It features bizarre enemies, a boss fight interrupted by the boss being hit by a truck, and mandatory cross-dressing. Its party members include a robot cat on a robot Moogle and a giant red wolf thing. The trailer seems pretty grim, and more in line with the tone of the game’s terrible sequels.

The Shenmue III thing is garbage, however. All these Kickstarter game revivals are garbage. They lead fans to believe they’re funding the game, where they’re funding maybe 1-10% of a game funded by a traditional publisher. But for a company to announce a Kickstarter at an industry conference? For a company to demand $2 million to see if there’s “interest” in the game? The original Shenmue, for the Dreamcast, was the most expensive game of its time, at $47 million ($67 million today). Shenmue III will take so much more money than that. $2 million is nothing. I’ve seen people ask why Sony, or Sega, isn’t funding it themselves. They are, and your 2 million Kickstarter funbucks won’t fund much of anything.

The only part of the stream I saw? The Uncharted demo…so I missed the announcements of Shenmue, Final Fantasy, and The Last Guardian, and instead saw a glitched, unmoving Nathan Drake. At least the car chase seemed fun.

Ubisoft

The Last Guardian, Shenmue, Final Fantasy VII remake, Fallout 4. We’re just a Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Half-Life 3 away from knowing the status of every high-profile, mysterious, long-unreleased game (a group of games in development hell is called a Nukem, by the way) I can think of.

I have no idea what they announced. I only watched the end, where they announced Gritty Open-World Shooter #183. I guessed that it was Ghost Recon, but who can even know with these games?

I wish open worlds would stop being the norm. It’s too easy for them to become tedious and repetitive, and an open world isn’t necessarily a more memorable world. We need more smaller, detailed worlds.

In An Alternate Timeline

Sega’s press conference was amazing. The Dreamcast 3 has so many great exclusives. Man, these Sonic games. They’ve just been so good for the last decade. That one in 2006, wow. Such great physics and hardly any glitches. And that new Nights Into Dreams! And a new Panzer Dragoon! A Skies of Arcadia remake! Shenmue…5! Sega has such a bright future in consoles.

Mass Effect

The trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda shows Mass Effect 1-style planetary exploration. I’ve always been sad that the series abandoned this exploration; Mass Effect 2 had a handful of sidequests, but Mass Effect 3 removed all real exploration, with the sidequests not involving a former party member or recycled multiplayer map reduced to simple fetch quests. Why this trailer is set to Johnny Cash, I don’t know, and I hope that armored character isn’t Shepard, who died melding synthetic and organic life, dreaming of her beloved Garrus. Oh, Garrus

HYPE RANKINGS

  1. Fallout 4
  2. Cuphead
  3. No Man’s Sky
  4. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  5. The Last Guardian
  6. Super Mario Maker

BEST SHORT FILMS

  1. Recore
  2. Dishonored 2
  3. Final Fantasy VII
  4. Mass Effect: Andromeda

32 Bits

I fell behind and eventually just stopped updating this series. I finished the last game, even, and never wrote about it.

Well I will be bringing it back. I started to use video in the second season of 32 Bits to show off the game, and that’s the direction I’ll continue with: I’m going to do it as a Youtube series…starting, ideally, in September.

Written reviews will probably continue. I’ll have to restart from the beginning, so maybe I’ll post re-written reviews here. This time around I’ll be including some games I couldn’t, or didn’t, play the first time around. And when I catch up with where I was and go forward, I’ll likely keep doing both, just so I can expand on what I say in the video.

Don’t know what it is? Curious why so many posts have gone missing? It’s a mystery…

Here’s your chance to buy Final Fantasy VII again!

So the rumors are true: Final Fantasy VII is coming to the PC, again. Not to Steam, however; Final Fantasy VII will instead be exclusive to Square Enix’s store. Final Fantasy VII, of course, was released for the computer before; that version can’t easily run on modern machines and came with a host of flaws, including poorly translated music and not really fitting in amongst¬†a market of more open games like¬†Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment. This is not a remake, but a re-release, optimized to run on modern systems but seemingly not changed beyond a few inconsequential new features. Continue reading