Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Attack of the Troll: Sony's E3 2013

The last time Sony did this console reveal E3 thing, it didn't go so well. Or it went very well, depending on whether or not you are the kind of person who enjoys telling the same jokes for years and years. How did they do this time?

The show opened almost 20 minutes late with a sweet musical montage of games. Jack Tretton came on staged pumped and excited to talk about all the kickass games they have in store. Of course, everybody was there to hear about the PS4, but understandably they had to get the PS3 and Vita stuff out of the way. There's going to be Walking Dead on the Vita. Tearaway is going to be on the Vita. Killzone Mercenary is going to be on the Vita. A bunch of Indie games are going to be on the Vita. None of these games got any real time though. Quickly they were shuffled off to remind everyone that there's still PS3 games coming out. The Last of Us was trotted out there despite being practically released because they want the world to know; Hey, one of the highest rated games of all time is only on the PS3. Just sayin'. Beyond Two Souls and Gran Turismo were in attendance as well. All in all it's a pretty remarkable lineup for a system this old, and really shines compared to the past few years for some other consoles that shall remain nameless.

But those things are old. This is 2013, what's new? Well, the PS4's hardware was finally revealed. It looks like.......a black box. Like the Xbox One. Unlike the Xbox One though, it's a small black box.

On to the games!

Well, errrr, after about 15 minutes of "entertainment" talk that is. Microsoft got all of that shit out of the way last month, leaving them all the time to talk about games today. I don't think I could say that was a wiser decision, but it sometimes felt like it while I was dozing off at the mention of "media at your fingertips" or whatever.

Finally, finally, Sony decided to show a new PS4 game. Ready at Dawn's The Order is a steampunk action(?) game. No gameplay was shown, though the very idea of a steampunk game always wiggles my willy. Some type of supernatural enemy was present, but thankfully, it doesn't appear to be zombies.

Just look at this dapper motherfucker.

After that, Sony checked in with the four titles it had announced at the PS4 reveal event earlier this year. Knack still looks charming, Drive Club is yet another in the quickly crowded persistent online racing genre, and Killzone looks interestingly un-Killzone-y. Aesthetically at least. It's a very colorful and attractive game.

The real though was Infamous: Second Son. I liked the first Infamous game well enough, less so the second one, and when this one appeared months ago I thought "cool, I guess". The gameplay trailer on display at E3 changed my mind. It's a damn awesome looking action game with some great acting and writing. A real surprise.

Pictured: A real surprise.

Sony then shifted gears to really emphasize its commitment to Indie developers. During Microsoft's conference, Phil Harrison mentioned that no one is more committed to Indies than them. It's one thing to say it, it's another thing entirely to devote the entire stage to showcasing a group of Indie partners at the biggest event in the industry. New games from the creators of Bastion and Scott Pilgrim to Lorne Lanning himself showing a remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssey showed Sony isn't just messing around when they say that the Indie scene is important to them.

Tell me this game doesn't look awesome.

Next, Square Enix was present in the form of a video of Tetsuya Nomura telling us to check out some shit.

First was a video of Final Fantasy Versus XIII XV. It looked......well it looked pretty damn amazing. I'm not a big fan of the series, but with beautiful graphics and Uncharted meets Kingdom Hearts style gameplay, I can put up with some Japanese melodrama.

And speaking of Kingdom Hearts, Square finally stopped jerking its fans around and revealed that yes, no bullshit, a real Kingdom Hearts III is in production. Not Kingdom Hearts/%/Code~.99, not Kingdom Hearts:DayCode*z, Kingdom Hearts III. So, that's nice for them.

Assassin's Creed IV and watch Dogs were featured for what feels like the tenth time in the past 24 hours. ACIV still looks "eh" (and hitched a hell of a lot) but Watch Dogs looks great, even if it's a known quantity at this point.

Some more third party nods were given in the form of The Elder Scrolls Online (which only looks sort of terrible instead of the expected totally terrible) and a Mad Max CG trailer. It's harder to be excited for game announcements with no gameplay, but Mad Max is developed by the minds behind Just Cause. Might be great.

The final game on show was Destiny, Bungie's new gig. I said earlier that Titanfall looks pretty similar to their old game, Call of Duty. Well, Destiny similarly evokes thoughts of Halo in almost every way. The look, the feel, the speed, all Halo. Only now it's more open. I always liked Halo more than Call of Duty so I'm not surprised I think Destiny is more appealing than Titanfall.

Tell me these aren't the same damn thing. I dare you.

The biggest bombshell of the evening came not from a game announcement at all. In a shocking amount of aggression from Sony, they managed to directly counter every complaint gamers have with the Xbox One with assurances that the PS4 is as consumer friendly as you can ask for. No online checks. No used game DRM. No authentication. And even crazier, announced the thing is going to be $100 cheaper. This is simply unbelievable. I can't imagine Microsoft won't respond to this in some way. Sony has taken whatever thunder Microsoft gained following a good E3 showing.

Of course, there is the caveat that it appears Sony has jumped on the "pay to play online" train. Though I imagine that's offsetting whatever they're losing selling you a console for peanuts.


Microsoft may have had a better showing, technically. But in the end I left that show still not convinced I needed a Xbox One and this one assured I'll have a PS4.


  1. Good stuff... I'm with you on the PS4... Maybe we can be friends???

    I just watched that Infamous trailer, and it does look badass... Final fantasy looks aces too.

    1. I'm not here to make friends. You can be my rival if you want.

  2. Final Fantasy XV looks different, but a lot of fun. I'm down with Uncharted + Kingdom Hearts.