Post E3: Our thoughts and hopes for the future of gaming
By the Last Token Gaming Staff
While I was slightly disappointed that Sony didn’t reveal any more details in regards of “Kingdom Hearts 3,” I was rather surprised by how Nintendo has managed to take E3 by the storm. They have revealed some titles that will give Wii U a breath of fresh air and showed another aspect of gaming coming to Wii U in the near future. I was really pleased on seeing “Splatoon” and “Yoshi’s Woolly World,” as cute as they appeared to be. While I’m not a big fan of multiplayer, “Splatoon” looks like a fun game that I could get my hands on. The mechanics are rather interesting and there may be some interesting dynamics that can come out of that with the players painting their territories with ink. “Yoshi’s Woolly World” definitely adds more to the yarn-based game play in ways that it doesn’t look like just another “Kirby’s Epic Yarn” clone. I was rather intrigued by the fact that Nintendo is going to have their new line of Skylander-like figurines called Amiibo. I like the idea of having figurines improve their stats and then having the player challenge those figurines. They may become a new alternative of improving yourself from just beating the regular computer AI in SSMB. Lastly, the Super Smash Bros. Tournament was a nice touch they had at E3 (aside from the commentary), giving attendees a taste on what’s coming to Wii U/3DS in the near future.
Nintendo has a history of risk taking in the company history. The new titles and new line of figurines definitely showed their risk-taking side. If the “Mario Kart 8” sales weren’t enough to secure the future of Wii U, I believe that Nintendo did a fantastic job convincing everyone that the Wii U is not just a gimmick and are creating a bright future for their current console.
Overall, this year’s E3 left me feeling underwhelmed and seemed to be more about “boarding multiple hype trains” than about how well the games play. Most trailers were about being flashy, visually stunning and punching the key words than selling the gameplay. A lot of keywords were used to make it seem like the newest consoles are going to innovate the gaming industry. I can only hope they’re right.
While I could say I’m excited about the usual suspects like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, The Division, Arkham Knight, etc., I felt like two indie games stole the show for me. No Man’s Sky looks visually engrossing, and the trailer shown gave us a good amount of gameplay to savor over. With the big promises the tiny studio have made (a procedural universe!), I hope they can deliver on them. That game, along with Entwined, really had me mesmerized. These are two games that, time and monetarily speaking, I want to get when I have a chance.
Alright, I have a legitimate excuse for not being as in the loop with all the latest E3 shenanigans, as they occurred over the intense final days of my last ever college finals. And, let’s be honest, I’m not always the most immediately up-to-snuff gamer. I not only don’t save up for next-gen consoles, but I spend more time surfing eBay for Bret Hart shirts and stressing about how I’d write a book chapter about the 1984 Detroit Tigers; to say the least, my economic and cultural sensibilities are often (but not entirely) locked in the past. That’s why I chiefly oversee stuff like the Hall of Fame here at Last Token Gaming, telling you kids with your “Battlefield” games to get off my lawn and let me play “GoldenEye” in peace! That being said, from what I’ve gleaned out of E3 2014, the biggest takeaway for me is easily “Alien: Isolation.” This one has me amped for a number of reasons. First, I’m a loyal fan of the film series (ok…just the first two, but you saw that disclaimer coming), and while the franchise’s time-honored formula of taut atmosphere and nauseating jump scares has occasionally been accomplished in gaming (chiefly the early “Dead Space” titles), we’ve yet to see an actual “Alien” game that carries the exceptional quality of either Ridley Scott or James Cameron’s classics to consoles. And there’s a key reason this game just might accomplish that: The AI. In what looks to be a liberating departure from the routine of repetitive enemies whose patterns are almost instantly figured out, the AI for the xenomorph is touted as completely unpredictable, making the player 100% uncertain when it might strike and offering no guaranteed reprieves. And if you’re more a fan of the first film’s setup of a group terrorized by one creature, this looks to be just one alien stalking you incessantly and forcing you to adapt to your surroundings instantly to avoid it. The spirit of the 1979 movie done with a dash of organic survival horror? Sign me up! (Disclaimer: Of course I’m excited for the next Metal Gear and Arkham games, but I feel like that goes without saying and as far as entirely new titles this one grabbed my attention the most.)
E3 has been amazing for me. Normally, I don’t get excited about AAA games as much as I am right now. “Far Cry 4” looks amazing and it has friggin’ elephants as weapon and vehicle. The wing suit flight in the opening gameplay demo showed just how big and beautiful the island will be. I can’t wait to explore it. I’m not a fan of the main bad guy at this point, but who knows? He might actually turn out to grow on me like Vaas did.
The biggest and most exciting surprise to me from this E3 is Nintendo. Everything they had to show this week has been a hit. I can’t wait for “Star Fox” in particular. The co-op looks like it will be amazing. One person shoots and the other person flies via the Wii U gamepad. Smash Brothers looks even more awesome, and let’s not forget about the open world Zelda game. The art direction alone was amazing. I like that you will be able to play it in any order you want to. It reminds me of how you could play the first Legend of Zelda.
The final thing that blew me away was “No Man’s Land.” You’ve heard the other guys talk about it already, but this is going to be quite the adventure. The fact that it is an ever expanding universe is particularly intriguing. While watching the trailer, I couldn’t help but be amazed that anyone and everyone can discover a new planet or star system. They say it will be infinite. I’m really hoping so, and I wouldn’t mind having my name attached to a planet that is viewable for all to see. Graphically it is very nice. Also, it has dinosaurs!
Well, Alien Ware’s Steam Box was at the show but not a lot of info, so I was a little disappointed with that even if it was likely with the Steam Gamepad getting delayed till next year.
Though the real stuff this year was Nintendo, who did a great job and provided lots of info on fan favorites. I’m glad to hear Zelda is going to be open world and “Hyrule Warriors” just looks plain awesome. No Epona as a playable character which is a let down…hey it makes perfect sense….really…horses can be characters! I mean she’s in most Zelda games after all! Okay, it’s not a big deal but it would be a funny extra in such a game.
I was happy to hear about StarFox actually in development and while I’m wary of the motion controls it does seem like they are trying hard to make something fun, new and as interesting as possible. Personally I just want a “StarFox 2” remake or port exactly as it was but at least we know it’s coming.
“Splatoon” just looks plain fun and I’m hoping that goes free to play like their “Steel Diver: Sub Wars” game. Not the best model as the price is written in stone, but players jumping online for free can keep a competitive game thriving sometimes. Plus those squid paint people have kind of a cool look, even for being kids I guess. Hoping I can customize my own squid person and hide in paint on walls for sneak attacks.
I’m also a fan of “Bayonetta” and I’m happy they chose to pack in the first game together with added extras. Still worried about some changes like the Sega references, but maybe Sega will be nice about that and let them use them as they were really fun segments. Well unless they replace them with “Mario Kart” and “StarFox” references? Change Eggman to Bowser in the opening intro jokes? Eh, either way it’s good to see Nintendo didn’t censor it all and maybe they really mean business this time for hardcore gamers.
Other than that their little game prototypes were fun to watch, and “Devils Third” looked interesting for a type of game I have little interest in. Eh, melee combat I tend to like really and they are adding some interesting ideas. Oh and the Smash Bros, I just want it even more now but that’s kind of obvious.
The other companies didn’t impress me much, same old same old. I’ll give Sony a 2nd place prize though as they really did a good job getting the indies up there. I mean, heck, they seemed like first party or third party presentations and they really got a lot of notice for their games so it’s hard for me to not feel happy about it. Also still interested in a Playstation TV device as I’d love a cheaper PS Vita alternative.
Either way, a rather pleasent E3, could be better perhaps but I was expecting a lot less so I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of the original games shown. Looking forward to the new games in October for sure.