Monday, June 10, 2013

E3 Initial Thoughts

Ok, just a quick entry here with what E3 knowledge I've gathered thus far. If you've been keeping up with the Getting Off Topic Facebook Page you've probably already seen most of my gatherings, but here's a nice little place where I can collect and expand on them all. Enjoy!

FIRSTIES, let's get the big ones out of the way. What did Sony and Microsoft have to tell us about the new consoles...

Behold, the Sony PS4! Looks kinda like a slanty Xbox One. Whatever. Just another sleek black box to shove in the entertainment center. There's already a meme going around: "PS4: Looks like an eraser. To erase the Xbox One from memory." Ouch.

Now, I couldn't care less about the pointless warring between Playstation and Xbox fanboys, but Sony is definitely being smarter about things in the following regards...

1) USED GAMES - We've covered Microsoft's restrictions before. Now comes Sony's announcement that used games are here to stay. And they are pretty damn proud of it, rubbing Microsoft's nose in it with the video below...

Playstation user or not, that's pretty damn funny.

2) ONLINE REQUIREMENT - Microsoft previously confirmed that the Xbox One will need to "check in" with an online connection at least once every 24 hours or else you are dead in the water. You won't even be able to play single-player campaigns. Nothing. Today, Sony announced the PS4 will not require any such thing. The PS4 will however introduce the necessity for a paid Playstation Plus subscription in order to play online multiplayer, which matches Xbox's current Live account requirements. Bummer.

3) PRICE - PS4: $399. Xbox One: $499. 'Nuff said.

My take? Sony has quite the upper hand on a lot of people's major gripes. But in the long run, I believe these consoles live or die by the quality of their content. The other features announced for these consoles, the gameplay video recording/sharing, the TV pass-thru, all shiny gimmicks to try and sway consumers to their side.

A friend of mine summed it up in a conversation earlier tonight: "What ever happened to game consoles just playing games and doing it well?" I think the graphics are decent enough on both machines. Give us good games and call it a day. The rest of this stuff just reminds me of desperate movie/tv studios that make hackneyed attempts to copy a hit. Example: Mad Men makes it big on AMC. Competing studio execs get this in their heads: "Oh, we need a retro show! That's the golden ticket! Retro is in now!" Cue The Playboy Club on NBC and PanAm on ABC, both of which crash and burn immediately. Because retro style didn't make Mad Men a hit. Good goddamned writing, acting, etc did. (Depending on who you talk to. I liked Mad Men. Kinda getting old this season though. About time to call it a day.)

All right, now that all that's out of the way, on to the fun stuff. A few game reveals I am excited about:

The Walking Dead: 400 Days is a DLC expansion episode (Episode 6 if you will) for Season One of Telltale Games fantastic Walking Dead series. This is NOT replacing the planned Season Two. I'm guessing a prelude/bridge between the two. 400 Days drops sometime this summer.

DragonAge: Inquistion! Argh! Can't wait for this one. But, le sigh, I will be forced to wait until this baby releases Fall 2014. It will be available on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4.

Kingdom Hearts 3 for the PS4. I still have yet to play through the Kingdom Hearts games, however due to the amount of trusted friends who loved them dearly, they are on my must-play list that I plan to get through hopefully in the near foreseeable future. Again, it looks like we may be in for a wait, as the trailer simply promises "in development". Not even an estimated release date yet. But hey, they confirmed it's coming! More than we can say about Half-Life 3. Ugh....

Batman: Arkham Origins isn't news, but this nice little chunk of gameplay footage was released today, reminding me that Arkham City is yet another game on my ever-growing get-around-to-it-when-you-can list. Too much good stuff out there! It's a full-time job, dammit!

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is another already announced game with some juicy new footage to eyeball. Almost a Red Dead Redemption vibe here. The developers showed off Snake's ability to commandeer multiple modes of transportation, along with the interesting dynamic of sneak mechanics in an open world setup. Not quite sure what to make of that, but I think I'm ok with Kiefer Sutherland taking over for David Hayter as Snake. He's bringing the gravel voice quite nicely. The game has been officially announced for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Although an eventual announcement for PC also seems likely.

And that's all she wrote, folks! If I hear of any further amazingness tomorrow, I'll be sure to do some updates!

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