Just as soon as it started, E3 has come to an end, leaving us with fantastical highs and long side-glances of apprehension. But what was good and what was bad? Certainly I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll give my opinion on the games that I think should be watched with much interest.
Unfortunately, my fears about Microsoft and the Xbox One were not alleviated, but neither were they exacerbated. It seemed like there was a general sense of hopelessness about the whole conference, and really, not too much stuck out to me. At least nothing that made me want to buy the damned Xbox One. Though the controversies I brought up last time weren’t exactly mentioned, they were more than content to make some new ones. During a play demo of the upcoming re-vamp of Mortal Kombat, one of the female developers, who was losing the match (playing a fighting game on a touch pad against someone using an arcade stick isn’t exactly a fair playing field), was told to “just let it happen” because “it [would] be over soon”. Something I absolutely do not watch game expos for is rapey side-comments about women losing games. It was gross, and it was clear that the developer wasn’t having any fun—which, when people already don’t like your system, is not the best way to go. All around, Microsoft came off as extremely unsupportive of their female playerbase. No one is amused.
However, Microsoft did have a couple good games at their showing. The ones I’m most excited for are Sunset Overdrive, a Borderlands-esque shooter which takes place in a futuristic setting that almost reminds me of Jet Set Radio, and Titanfall. People are already getting excited over Titanfall for two reasons: it’s developed by a sect of people that left the Call of Duty camp (people who were the good part of that camp, some would argue) so it’s clear they already know their way around the genre—and it stars a non-sexualized female in a position of power. Unfortunately, from the gameplay it doesn’t seem as though she will be a playable character, but I’m happy that she’s there, at least. In such a male-dominated genre, baby steps are definitely the safe method to integration, but we’ll see if it’s more than just a novelty in the coming years.
Of course, from the EA side of things, I’m keeping both eyes firmly tuned on Dragon Age: Inquisition. There’s a joke going around on Tumblr that the Dragon Age trailer had more women in it than the entire Microsoft conference combined and… well, it’s the truth. The sad, sad truth. It looks amazing so far, and it also looks like it’s going to break my heart. A good combination. Also, I’m excited to see Mirror’s Edge 2 be announced. Though I haven’t played the first game, the crisp, clean graphics that drew me to the first one still seem to be present, and of course Faith returns once more. There have been rumors of it just being a reboot of the first game, but even then, preserving it for the new generation of systems can’t be bad.
Ubisoft, while not exactly offering anything new, returned strong with old favorites like Rayman and Assassin’s Creed. From the last E3, and playing the demo in Gamestop, the games that I was most pleased to see were Watch Dogs and Rayman: Legends. However, I was completely blown away by the small, hilarious tower-defense-like game, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. Ubisoft has a wonderful way of not taking themselves seriously, and because of this their humor is really something that is allowed to flourish. Mighty Quest is a fantastic example of this.
Though not exactly impressive, I would be remiss to say that Nintendo didn’t fulfill my every whim and dream—when fulfilling dreams becomes unimpressive, I wonder if that means my standards are too high. A new Donkey Kong game, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, looks just as fun and frustrating as its predecessor on the Wii and, of course, Smash Bros looks fantastic. The game I’m most pleased for the announcement of however, was Bayonetta 2. I literally was not expecting the announcement, so when I saw it I flipped my shit. Yeah, I’m not ashamed. Bayonetta looks even more kick-ass in this game, although I’m kind of side-eyeing that the only talking points they used were “she has short hair and new clothes!” Come on, at least say something about how it controls on the WiiU.
So, these companies for the most part didn’t put on a bad show, but the clear “winner” of E3 this year was Sony. And I’ll admit, I went into their conference expecting absolutely nothing because the Playstation 3 has never impressed me at all. Which, if you were following my Tumblr liveblog/spam, you could probably tell from how much I didn’t give a shit at the beginning of the conference. So let’s just get this out of the way first: the Playstation 4 allows used games, is four hundred dollars, and is actually supporting indie developers. GG, WP Microsoft, go home. I think these deals with the indie companies are going to be a huge boost to Sony, though, despite many of the games being available on Steam. I know that my computer can’t exactly handle a lot of games (fie on me for not getting a gaming laptop), so being able to play them on a console will most likely be nice. Especially since I tend to like console controls much better than computer ones. But, what I mostly mean is that now there’ll be a wider audience for Transistor. This comes from the group that made Bastion, so we already know the art is going to be gorgeous and the soundtrack is going to be amazing. From the small demo, it looks like it stars a woman that is trying to prevent her voice from getting stolen like so many others before her. It looks cool, whatever it is. Also, Destiny, another class-based free roaming shooter, looks freaking fantastic. And rain for the PS3 looks really nice and haunting, but they literally spent less than a minute on it, so I can’t tell anything from that alone.
Sony’s game showing may have been good, but where they really won me over was in their play demos. Unlike Microsoft, the women that chose to play were not made to look like the “bad gamer” or incompetent. In fact, all the games that were played were co-op, so instead of a combative, competitive feeling, it was all based on teamwork and community, which really should be what we’re striving to create as a whole. So good job, Sony, on not being sexist dickholes.
Though people may argue on what games are going to be the games to be on the watch for, I think everyone can agree on one thing: this year’s E3 was a million times better than last year’s. And though there wasn’t as much female representation as I would have liked, there was more than I was expecting. Perhaps this is signaling a slow, but good change in the industry. I would like to think so.
The nice thing about having a desktop is that I can just go “Huh, I’m not sure if I could run all of these. Well, time to crossfire!” Cheers to a great E3! *clink*
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