Random E3 Thoughts

I generally don’t cover events but I’ve been talking about stuff enough to share.

X-Box One vs the Playstation 4

To be controversial for a moment, I think, pre-E3, that the X-Box One took too much flack. Most of this was self induced — Microsoft poorly communicated the nature of it’s new platform. You don’t here outrage that you can’t share games on Steam… because that’s what the X-Box One is. It’s an all digital platform. Yeah you can buy games on disc and install them if you REALLY WANT, but I suspect that Microsoft thinks that that’ll go away. If it wasn’t for the multimedia needs of a blu-ray drive for their media center vision, I would predict the the X-Box One would have shipped with NO optical drive. So if you ask your self what the X-Box One does worse than Steam, well… you got the 24 hour check-in (which honestly, as far as annoying DRM goes, is pretty reasonable for most use cases. It does completely fuck some people over though), and… shoving kinect down everyones throat. The rest is either stuff that you’d expect from a digital platform, or nonsense (Like the Kinect movie viewing patent. Every company files ridiculous patents all the time. Also that’d be so easy to fool. Just put a towel over your kinect). I guess a complaint could be “I don’t trust Microsoft to have sales and be as cool as Valve”, which is reasonable, but a different kind of criticism. Atop that it did seem to have some decent compromises (freely share games between up to 10 friends/family members sounded rad as hell). I don’t blame people for freaking out –pushback against any DRM is good and for the most part, Microsoft marketed themselves in ridiculous ways (DIGITAL USED GAMES GUYS OLOLOLOLOLOLOL).

That said, at E3 they offered nothing new and exciting and their price point, while not absurd for a new console (guys, you’re not supposed to buy this shit day one anyways, have some self control and protect your wallets), god extremely undercut by the PS4. This is actually the exact opposite of the situaiton I expected. I expected a situation where most people would be choosing between the more expensive, less evil option of the PS4, vs the cheaper, but perceived-to-be-shadier option of the X-Box One. This is also probably why the X-Box One didn’t have DVR capabilities — price was clearly a concern. The PS4 has most of the digital advantages the X-Box One has, plus a number of other neat, cool stuff like Gaikai and screen sharing and other neat stuff. It will likely be only a hair worse at being a multimedia center (no HDMI passthrough for cable), but few are going to care. So whether the X-Box One’s policies are truly evil or not is, post E3, irrelevant. PS4 has the advantage on pretty much every front including a significant price lead. The X-Box One might be able to recover after the first round of price cuts, but the early game is pretty much set I think.

On a sad ‘no one will care but me’ note, PS+ for multiplayer on the PS4? I’m booing so hard. I mean, I’m sure some people care, but not a lot. This makes me really annoyed, but at the same time I don’t think they should care about. I’m on the part of the curve where I WANT multiplayer when I want it, but don’t use it all that much. So if I go a month without playing a game online (which happens ALL THE TIME), I just flushed 5 dollars down the drain, which might not sound like a lot, but I hate wasting money. I’d basically be the guy subsidizing the cost for all the active users. 50 dollars a year isn’t a lot, but to play Street Fighter online like 6 times in a year and then bitch about lag? … Ugh. I could throw down for a few months to play a Souls game, but then that makes picking it back up less enthralling. Also I don’t want to hear crap about “PS+ gives you free game!” A) They’re not free. I’m paying for them. B) I don’t want to pay for games I don’t want. C) There have been PS3 games on + that I would play. Only problem is that -I already owned all of them-. Also since I don’t care about most of the extra features of the PS4 (though I acknowledge they’re cool), I’m basically paying for p2p matchmaking, which kills me. But oh well, I’m not a typical user and Sony ain’t owe me nothing. It just annoys me because that, plus the support for ps2 to usb adapters was basically the reason I went the PS3 route. Oh well, at least my USB joystick apparently will probably still work?

Oh well, my groaning doesn’t matter, I’m probably not going to pick a new console up for like another 3 years or something and while the PS4 is still my preferred choice, who knows what will happen in that time?

Metal Gear Solid 5

Metal Gear never felt more well acted. I hate to say it, but I think I’m okay seeing Hayter go. I still sorta feel the best compromise would be to have Hayter for the pre-coma/Ground Zeroes segment, but that might be too jarring. Either way, the game seems emotionally intense. A lot of the themes portrayed seem like something that only work in a situation like this — a situation where we have had years upon years to see the characters evolve. This is where we really get to see how Big Boss was driven to be the character he ended up being. Not much to say outside that the game looks beautiful and the open worldiness seems an extension of what made Metal Gear Solid 3 great. Kojima is one of gaming’s few auteur game makers in the AAA space. I’m sure the gameplay will simply be “Metal Gear, but better as always” and I’m okay with that.

Final Fantasy XV

I’m as shocked as any of you might be that I’m writing about a Final Fantasy, but the game looks to be a very very capable action game with awesome mobility options. I’ve sat around chatting about this for the last two days with Tyler Doak and we both, as action game snobs, think this looks amazing. It really seems to nail everything I’d wanna see in a trailer like this. Great movement, tons of dodging and attack options, dodging big enemies, attacks with various movement properties. That, with a Final Fantasy-ish aesthetic? I dig it. It might not deliver, but nothing I’m seeing is triggering any red flags.

Dark Souls 2

It’s more Dark Souls and I’ll get to play it in a year. Trailer is okay but I don’t think it reveals anything particularly interesting. It just does what it has to do — it looks solid.

Bayonetta 2

Same as the above. Looks like more Bayonetta 1, which is exactly what I’d want. Also looks sharp as hell and I mostly like her new redesign. DAT HAIR omg dat hair. Outfit is pretty cool, I like the white fabric and the ruffles and all that. Her weird mantle/bib thing is weird, but I like the neck part and shoulders. I’ll get used to it. Now I just need a friend to buy a Wii-U so I can steal it from them for a few days.

Titanfall

Those soldier jetpack things almost remind me of Shingeki no Kyojin’s 3d Manuevering Gear, just without the grappling hooks. Also someone needs to make a SnK game.

Smash Bros

I kinda really have always hated Smash so I don’t care that much, but Mega Man looks ADORABLE. What a great character model. Also anyone crying about the Wii Fit Trainer sucks. Her moves look great. I bet you just wished it was another sword guy. You scumbag. You should be ashamed.

Killer Instinct

This game has all the hitsparks. It’s kinda obscene to the point where I should hate it but I end up liking it. I will probably absolutely hate the game (FULL COMBO OFF OF FIREBALL YEAAAAAAH), but it looks like the people who are making it kinda care, so it might be interesting. The legecy of KI requires some obnoxious system stuff, but they seem to be doing a decent job making stuff work to… some degree.

I’m glad it exists, even if I never play it.

I guess that’s it. I guess the new Madkatz TE sticks look great? Shoulder straps, unscrewable capables and quick access to components? Sounds good to me.

edit: X-Box One info revealed by an anonymous developer. Said most of the stuff I’m saying. Again, not saying you should like the X-Box One. It doesn’t seem to be a better deal for the money. But understand what it is so you can have excellent, well thought out opinions about it.

11 thoughts on “Random E3 Thoughts

  1. I dunno, I hate the idea of consoles going steam based kinda way. I like OWNING MY OWN GAMES and if MS is gonna go the way of steam? Fuck that I say. I hate steam and how invasive it is and how it says you don’t even own your own games you purchase. Just because something is digital does not mean it is not a product you can’t own. You own that instance of the code and it’s yours to do with as you please.

    The other issue with MS? Spying. I don’t care if they claim the Kinect 2.0 isn’t spying on you. It is. And nothing is truly secure. It’s giving a very invasive tool for people to spy on you with and after the NSA bit? Ya, we should be worried.

    As for PSPlus, I care :\ I hate that they’re making it pay to even use online. It’s such a shit thing. I mean, yes, PSPlus is GREAT value and you do tend to make out better if you stay a member long term from all the free games than if you weren’t a member, but it’s still feeling like they are punishing people for not having PSPlus by removing online play (At least PS Vita and PSP and PS3 can log on and use online without PSPlus) instead of using more positive reinforcement with good deals to encourage more people to get PSPlus. Punishing consumers is never a good thing.

    As for games you mentioned
    ============================

    MGSV:

    BOO YOU!!! Get your pitchforks out already and rage against the lack of David Hayter!! He is the one and true Snake! And while I like Kiefer Sutherland, his voice acting is HORRIBLY bland. Have you ever actually seen/heard his other works? I’ll give you a nice reference: Armitage III. And he hasn’t improved that much since then lol. Actors don’t always make good voice actors. Other than that, game looks fun, setting looks fun, I’m intrigued.

    FFXV:

    I can’t freaking wait. I’ve known for awhile since it was Versus that it’d be action RPG akin to KH action RPG (which, imo, is one of the best action RPGs ever cause it actually emphasizes action in the combat). It also seems like it’ll have a neat setting and obviously graphically impressive. As for story and characters? well, I’m hesitant before I can ever claim that’ll be good especially because FF hasn’t been truly stellar for that in awhile. I don’t think FFXIII was as bad as other people claimed in writing, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.

    Dark Souls 2:

    I agree they didn’t show off much new, but I really can’t wait for more Souls. If they keep it challenging and punishing and expand on it (I do like that the dual wielding seems improved, that was needed very badly) while also keeping the style of exploring the world and items to better piece the game’s story yourself, then I’m a very content souls fan :)

    Bayonetta 2:

    Don’t care to get a Wii U still, especially for one game. It looks fun, but not enough for me to really go “MUST HAVE!”

    Titanfall:

    Looks fun as hell, I didn’t really think of Shingeki no Kyojin myself when I saw it, but I can see your point (man how awesome would it be if they made a Shingeki no Kyojin kinda game? Part Shadow of the colossus, part spider man mechanics, part I dunno lol, just could be potentially fun). But since this will be on PC, I see no reason to care to get an XBone for it (not sure if it’ll be on PS4 or not, I don’t think so, I think just XBone and PC).

    Smash Bros:

    More Smash bros, seems fun, but I’ve never been a huge fighter guy. Those tend to require people to enjoy truly, I don’t often have people to play fighters with :P and computers are often boring at fighters.

    Killer Instinct:

    Same thing as above, not a huge fighter guy. And I’ve heard about some supposed bs business model with it. And the team developing it has.. well… they’ve not created a good game yet.

    As for games you haven’t mentioned
    ============================

    The Order 1886:

    I would love to know more about the actual gameplay, but the setting and such is appealing to me. I look forward to more

    Kingdom Hearts 3:

    I love the KH Series. Even if convoluted at times with story, the gameplay has always been fun as hell to me and I can’t wait.

    Killzone Shadow Fall:

    Looks like a good FPS, nothing spectacular, but fun. Nice it’s donning more colors than shades of brown.

    Infamous Second Son:

    I’ve loved the Infamous series, they have been very fun games. This looks like more of the same. I approve.

    D4:

    I wanna see more about this game from XBox. It’s a kinect game which is impressive that it intrigues me so. Looks like it could be interesting and fun. A game by the Deadly Premonition and ya, seems potentially good.

    The Division:

    A new take on Tom Clancy kinda game, looks very fun.

    Destiny:

    That new bungie MMO thing, also looks fun.

    I think there are more I’d wanna talk about but can’t think of any atm. The other games I could think of don’t have much interest to me (Halo, CoD, etc) or I just can’t remember cause so many games.

  2. Yeah hating Steam AND X-Box One is a totally logically consistent position. I’m eh on Steam and eh on the X-Box One stuff but I definitely prefer NOT having it.

    Good write up in general on everything. Just radnom question, D4… is that… related to the D series? Because there was no D3 so that’s confusing me!

  3. I don’t think it’s related the D Series, far as I can tell. But it does seem interesting. But gonna need to see more.

  4. I would wwnt to write a few more paragraphs, but writing on a phone is incredibly annoying, so it’s simply a question:
    Concerning the handling of “used games” – while I understand that it’s a huge change for the console users (people hate change by nature) – is it inherently a bad thing in the long term, being unable to resell/gift used games, or do people simply hate the change in mentality?
    As some pointed out, it’s like Steam.. Not liking the idea and handling of Steam is a fair point, no question…. And I m already writing too much for the phone.. In short: The long term effect of ridiculously high discounts that benefit the developers and in the end dont cost more than “used games” seems completely forgotten.
    And yes, “unable to gift used games” is a strong counter argument.

  5. It’s a little bit of both I think. You lose rights with digital in most cases (besides DRM free where you arguably gain something since you can give it to friends kinda freely if you feel okay doing that), but since we’ve seen it work with steam, a lot of it IS change. It’s also perception. X-Bone One isn’t really making it’s digital nature explicit, so beyond even it’s weird marketing that talks about digital used games, it creeps people out. Stuff like “KINECT ALWAYS ALL THE TIME” just sends bad vibes.

    So I think int he long run there are more benefits to digital for producer and consumer, at least as far as price is concerned, but it’s definitely not without it’s disadvantages and part of that requires trusting Microsoft to do the things Valve is currently doing.

  6. I wonder – “you lose rights” – while that’s certainly true, does that even matter? As in – does it have any actual consequences besides the whole used-games topic?

    To re-iterate on the point I’d like to make:
    I can absolutely agree, that the idea of being “unable to sell/gift used games” has severe immediate disadvantages and especially is foreign to console-users. But I feel like many are short sighted – are missing the point where it also has long-term advantages. I don’t even mean to argue whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. That’s an individual thing everyone would have to think through by themselves. But I feel like pointing out the idea that there are also (long-term) advantages is important… Because people are (by nature) short-sighted… And now I’m running in circles.

  7. @Yagamoth

    I agree with that and that’s a lot of what’s going on here. It makes some sense though — future is uncertain and Microsoft doesn’t have the best track record, but most people aren’t even approaching it from that angle. Fortunately the PS3 is probably going to do much the same, just on a gentler gradient, so the future will come one way or another.

    @Arthandas

    Aw, what a cute comment. :3

    Here, I’ll tell you what, I’ll make a new post right now.

  8. The difference between Xbox One and Steam is that with Steam there are competitors that I can go to. My device is not locked to a specific market/retailer. With physical game copies that was also the case for Xbox and 360, and to an extent still is, but the push to digital and weakening of used sales reduces that influence. The other major complaint to level at Xbox is the difficult publishing process that’s just getting worse; they seem like they’re just flat out snubbing indies pretty hard which is crazy considering the past 5 years. Knowing that the physical device I’m buying has longevity and fair pricing through competition is pretty important.

    Though with a sub for multiplayer I don’t have THAT much more enthusiasm for PS4 either.

  9. Personally my main problem with Microsoft currently is their policies regarding indie developers and patching your own games. MS will not allow indie developers to self publish, charges large amounts for patching your own games (reportedly between 20 and 40K!) and charges fees for publishing on their platform.

    They also require you to sign a contract to make up to 3 more games for their platform just to publish a single game. This is all things I’ve heard and researched.

    In contrast Sony requires no fee to publish on their platform you can self publish and updating your own game is free. This is likely why most of MS’s indie developers have switched to PSN and other platforms.

  10. -THIS- is an entirely different issue and one that is totally true. I would never even jokingly consider working for the 360 or One. I’m with you 100% on this. Sadly not a lot of people seem to be complaining about this (though fortunately you’re also not the only one to have brought it up).

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