Monday, June 10, 2013

Of Tablets and Hashtags: EA & Ubisoft's E3 2013

With Microsoft's show out of the way and Sony's still to come, it's time for the third parties to show us what they've been doing the last few years.

Electronic Arts, apparently winning the ongoing battle of who is the big bad in the gaming industry against Activision, delivered a slew of pleasing game announcements around bits of boring sport game sales pitches.

I felt it was odd to open the show with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, a class based third person shootery take on the classic PvZ formula. But I guess that's why those people are in suits on stage at E3 and I'm in my pajamas writing this to an audience of no one. It seems like a decent enough game, but hardly a jaw dropper.

More interesting was the quick and awkward announcement of Peggle 2, fittingly delivered via an abrupt clip of Ode to Joy and a jumping fistpump. I can't imagine what a sequel brings beyond "more Peggle", but luckily that's all I need from Peggle.

Titanfall and Battlefield 4 made appearance here as well, though Battlefield this time showed the part of the game people care about. And it looked gorgeous. An entire skyscraper collapsing in the middle of a multiplayer match is truly a sight to behold.

Need for Speed Rivals is an interesting blending of singleplayer and multiplayer gaming. I have noticed lots of developers hammering that point. It's clear publishers absoluetly want you connected online at all times, and blending the two modes into one is theIR attempt to make that appealing (Or required. Who knows at this point). Tablet funcionality was also a big focus point of EA and Microsoft's show. Plenty of games are offering ways to either not play a game while you're playing a game, or giving somebody else a boring game to play while you play an exciting one.

All the fun of looking at maps, nothing else.

After that, Dragon Age Inquisition made its debut. I have....a past when it comes to the last game in the series, so I have been skeptical of the franchise going forward. We weren't given much to actually see beyond a decent CG trailer (other than the fact it will be open world, like The Witcher 3. Remember, that is the trend for this E3 apparently). Based on little more than hope, I would say it looks like EA gave Bioware time to actually make a damn game. We'll see.

Then it was the boring sports section. Again and again company men came out to tell us why these next sports games are going to be revolutionary, though for the most part it boiled down to "Our AI is slightly less stupid" and "The physics are more physical". The only highlights of this entirely too long section of the show was a dope-ass basketball rap and Drake bizarrely appearing onstage to tell everyone how awesome his life is before disappearing as quickly as he came.

So goddamn great, you guys.

The real nuggets of the show though, were the lightening quick reveal of a new Star Wars Battlefront game, and the announcement of Mirror's Edge 2. There's not much real news about these games other than that they exist, but that's awesome.

Score: B+

Perhaps nothing here was surprising, but hey, Mirror's Edge 2.

  • Levelution and MMAI join Drivatar in what is becoming a dreadfully pun filled E3.

Ubisoft kicked off its own show with Jerry Cantrell playing some sweet-ass guitar. Ostensibly this was meant to promote the new version of Rocksmith, but really it was just an excuse for the aforementioned sweet-ass guitar. Not a bad way to open a show.

From there, returning host Aisha Tyler consistently bombed her way through jokes with a charming faux casual demeanor.We were shown bits of expected current gen games. South Park made its return, Rayman Legends is still coming and still beautiful, and Splinter Cell Blacklist is......put it this way: Like Metal Gear Solid, I considered myself over the franchise. Unlike Metal Gear Solid, I'm still over it.

After that Yves Guillemot brought us into the next gen releases. First up, The Crew is a racing game that for almost entirely the whole trailer I had thought they perhaps played the Need for Speed Rivals trailer by mistake. It's remarkably similar in a lot of way, right down to the persistent innovative online/offline world and the extra tablet gameplay features. It does appear to be more influenced by the Fast and Furious movies however.

Though without Vin Diesel constantly telling you to "Hit it", what's the point.

Watch Dogs showed up again with a slick CG trailer. No gameplay was featured, but we've seen enough of that game that I'm on board anyway.

After that, Ubisoft turned the knob down to Casual for a look at Just Dance and a Rabbids "interactive TV show" (read: crappy Kinect game). I understand this stuff isn't for me, so I'll simply say that it didn't take up too much time.

Assassin's Creed IV was previewed with two, count 'em two, non gameplay trailers. It's another Assassin's Creed game. This time with pirates.

Say it with me: I'm over it.

I seem to be saying that a lot recently, but honestly these constant sequels are doing little for me these days.

I am however interested in one of two announced Trials games. The other is a crap mobile game, but Trials Fusion (continuing the legacy of terribly generic names) looks to be a more over the top trick based affair. Sign me up.

And finally, Ubisoft closed the show with a new online RPG shooter known as The Division. It features a slick as all hell UI and interesting looking gameplay features. Like every game this E3, it touts a persistent online open world and asynchronous tablet gameplay. What the hell is the deal with that anyway?  "Hey, we're all going to play The Division, who wants to be the map?" I can't imagine who this feature is for. At least the Wii U comes with its tablet. Are you giving me an iPad Microsoft? No? Then all your shitty Smartglass nonsense is useless to me.

Also it is heavily implied The Division features infected humans of some kind (let's call them "zombies"), so, you know, fuck that game.

Score: F-

Very little surprises, but more importantly NO BEYOND GOOD & EVIL 2.

1 comment:

  1. Gorilla Haliing Taxi While Carrying Red Leather HandbagJune 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    You know what the problem is with gamers today? Everyone is worried about just the games. Let me tell you some of the questions that I ask myself when it comes to a new console-

    Can this console support conference call video chat?

    Does Drake support this console?