E3 [Press Conferences]: Who stole the show?
Micro vs. Ubi — which one came up on the softer side of the shell?
Before we get to that debate, the two gaming powerhouse press conferences of the day sandwiched the fan favorite showing of Electronic Arts, whom with the likes of UFC, Madden 25 and FIFA 14, prove entirely uncapable of “soft.”
We won’t forget Sony, either. GodHatesGeeks has both The Christian and the Monsignor Mau on the Playstation scene tonight (to which I’ll hopefully be too busy toying around with Saints Row IV), and we’ll have another cool chat on that much-anticipated media briefing.
As for this first morning of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, it’s been a dichotomy of wonders. There was a surprising boatload of childish platformers and far-from-surprising entree of extraordinary multiplayer shooters.
Imagine which side got this Reverend’s panties in a bunch.
Let’s just get to it: Titanfall was the winner of Day 1. You knew going into the day that EA would inch out more from their Ignite engine (cont. from the Xbox One conference), that a new Halo would be announced (Spielberg not included), and that Ubisoft would continue to push their top Dogs (bring ’em out already!). While I’m hesitant to give Microsoft even a B grade for their presentation, the company did present the most impressive new IP of the day. And, remember that mystery Game Informer cover I was talking about?
If you’re not already blown away by that footage’s epic scope, then I probably know what you’re thinking: Pacific Rim. Sure, those Titans look like Guillermo’s jaegers. Uh-huh, it’s Black Ops with a splash of Halo. Even still, having the seamless comfort of going in and out of your ginormous mancannon in mid-combat is pretty stellar. And Titanfall‘s juicy mechs also pack the Source engine that Valve used for their zombie hit, Left 4 Dead. More so, the Microsoft crowd-pleaser already has some industry peeps labeling this one “the COD killer.” The tag may actually not be too far-fetched, if you consider that many of Respawn’s key developers came from (former Duty-devs) Infinity Ward.
Now, all our asses gotta do is wait ’til Spring.
Titans closed the show — and Solid Snake opened it. Xbox has never had the luxury of a Metal Gear Solid, this side of a remastered HD collection. That changed this morning. And by opening up the media briefing with MGS V: The Phantom Pain proved that Microsoft wasn’t effing around this time. While their conference rained in with extreme highs (Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome), and lows (a soundless Crimson Dragon, Project Spark), their presentation displayed the power of all those — what many deemed unnecessary — toys and functions (i.e. Kinect, Smartglass), almost making them imperative to next-gen gaming.
Personally, I’m excited to see where all of this is going to go. $499.99, to my best assumption, is about 100 more bones than anyone is interested in paying– especially if you’re paying that 8% CA sales tax at Best Buy — but it’s not entirely unaffordable. So long as the games remain $60 and we’re charged the same monthly fee for the current Xbox Live, it may be more than well worth it.
As for the 360, gamers really shouldn’t lie to themselves: this thing is on its way out. Going by the morning conference, there were measly few minutes spent chatting up their current system. The 360 spotlighted one of the most unimpressive conference showings to date: World of Tanks, which just has a god-awful name in itself, another one of those free-to-play built port that just keeps on dragging me through the mud. To top that all off, there was an uninteresting Max cartoon platformer.
And that’s what Microsoft thinks of their current-gen. Of course, Game-of-the-Year candidate Grand Theft Auto V is coming out in September, along with the exciting comedy-RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth (Ubisoft claims a holiday release for this one), so not all is dreadful.
Speaking of Ubisoft.. just what the hell happened out there today? Ubi’s host, Aisha Taylor, was more interested in getting her 7-foot freak on, than exploring the importance of arguably the most important gaming company in the industry today, and trailer retreads of Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed IV: Blackflag and Splinter Cell: Blacklist were also on display. After watching the wonder of Metal Gear earlier this morning, it’s no wonder my Playstation pals always gave us shit for loving Sam Fisher. There’s no doubt that Blacklist will be cool; but it’s a little hard to knock down an audience that saw most of this shit a year ago. Same with Watch Dogs. The game is going to be amazing. But it was last year’s surpise, so.. yeah.
Then, after showing us the above pretty trailer, you Ubi’s hit us off with some Blackflag “gameplay.” No, no. That footage was clearly just another trailer, no matter how beautiful in scope. And yes, indeed; Assassin’s Creed IV looks very very beautiful.
Rabbids Invasion. Just Dance 2014. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare???
Are you kidding me!?
Okay, I know I’m a hardcore gaming buffoon, but I like my variety in my hours spent with the stick too. I understand there are other audiences out there, and the best thing to do at any of these conferences is to appeal to the corporate world victims (women and children). But, seriously. Garden Warfare? Thankfully, you guys hit us off with a couple of electric IPs out there today, which may have just made up for all the awkward!
Another tactical shooter and another damn racer. But’s all good! I’ll stick with it. Both games look good. Mighty good. Especially, after watching the earlier footage from both Forza 5 Motorsport and Need 4 Speed: Rivals, you Ub’s may have gotten their number with… The Crew. With what sounds like another generic dubstep-inspired gang-racer — exactly what it looked like at first glance — the makers of Driver: San Francisco are giving this Burnout-like the MMO 3rd degree. I know I complained about MMO’s earlier (and just about every other day in my life), but this is an element unheard of for a racer. Having that ability to battle against anyone else in the country is damn cray. You also have the ability to customize your whip or truck from the bottom to the top.
Speaking from “The Bottom to the Top,” the hell was my man Drizzy doing over at EA?
Cashing in, that’s who! And who’s to blame him for sporting some endorsement for the FIFA brand. While there wasn’t a whole lot of actual gameplay footage shown of anything during the Electronic Arts conference — which makes me a little less angry I took the wrong way on the Metro Dash — both FIFA 14 and Madden 25 look impressive. But that’s it. Remember, this year (or winter 2014 or whatever) is going to be the Guinee Pig Year for EA Sports. They’re using a brand new engine, and aiming to do things they’ve never done before.
Along with the huge, albeit unsurprising announcement of Star Wars: Battlefront (yippee!), EA was also smart to present Battlefield 4 as a literal COD: BO2 clone; only because that style is really all the online peeps want to see. The graphics don’t look all that much better than that of the 360 and PS4, but the team coordination in the multiplayer, especially from the strategic smartglass function, was pretty wild. Though, if you’re an FPS multiplayer live junkie, you mind as well go and starting digging on this…
Ahh… Tom Clancy. This guy just won’t go now will he? While Rainbow Six: Patriots has enigmatically, as well as literally, been put off the shelves (it’s transferring towards next-gen dynamics, of course), Tom Clancy’s The Division is Ubisoft’s new-found prize. The game clearly looks great, and unclearly has a genre.
It’s online, it’s an RPG, but not an MMO.
It’s a shooter, it’s made by Massive, but not an MMO.
Uh, yeah, right! Either or, The Division was a close 2nd to Snake and the Titans from taking this damn Press Day thing. The graphics are ultimately superb, showing every nuance and detail left in a cold cold world. The HUDs look superbly interactive; the audio creeps over to a distant eerie; the story a bit chilling. Again, like BF4, someone can mess around on their smart phone as a drone. There’s homing grenades. The communication between characters is fairly exciting, showcasing nothing more than a creepy nonchalant outlook on a lost, pandemic New York City.
I can’t wait.
More on all of these games throughout the week…except GTA5, of course.