I was 9 years old when I first met Lara Croft. Huddling around a TV with a group of my cousins, we watched in fascination as one of the eldest boys played the newly released Tomb Raider.
“Who’s that lady?” I asked one of them.
“Lara Croft,” The one playing replied. “Hey, watch this.” He stopped what he was doing to shift the camera down, then swoop in for a good look at Lara’s pixilated butt. I rolled my eyes. They all giggled.
Feels like its been forever since I’ve clicked that “Upload Video” button on youtube, but today we return to form. Janessa was in Portland over the weekend, so we got together to put on a short webcam discussion about all of our thoughts on E3. I actually thought it went really well and I’m hoping we can figure out how to do it more in the future.
Today’s vlog is all about our impressions of the Big Three at E3 as well as what we thought were the best and worst things on the show floor.
Do all good things have to come to a crash and burn ending? At one time I used to be extremely excited for all of the big publisher press conferences at E3. They were easy to stream and digest, one could extract quite a few nuggets of greatness from them and in a way they gave E3 a very official air, but this year proved that the format has become extremely stale.
Sure, part of the problem might be playing to the lowest common denominator, a great deal of the games shown were gritty first-person shooters, but I have a hard time knocking on that as I enjoy a lot of those games. A lot of the press doesn’t though (apparently), so I can understand why many are frustrated with this year’s big conferences.
So here’s the problem: the next generation of graphics is quite literally already upon us, the next generation of video game consoles is mostly unknown and the next generation of gaming is still developing.
Is anyone ready for some long-winded analytics and opinion? E3 was a just a huge pile of conflicting themes and emotions and “next generation” was like the term that couldn’t be actually uttered, for fear of being backhanded by a Microsoft lanky. I’ll try my best to keep the thread of discussion coherent, so here it goes.
What’s in a name anyway? I’m not really sure, but all I know is that when I heard a passive mention of the name “Deadlight” from E3 this week, I looked it up and was immediately taken in by a game that looks like it “gets it” when it comes to the fine line between innovation while still feeling familiar.
As far as I can tell from demo videos, Deadlight is a zombie apocalypse game (whoa now everybody, don’t leave just yet!) on a 2D, Prince of Persia-inspired space. The game looks very devoid of guns and ammunition and it looks like you will need to use your wits and the environment around you to survive.
The game also doesn’t look totally unlike another Metroidvania rip that I absolutely loved: Shadow Complex. In fact the engine looks like a direct port, so I was a little surprised to hear the game wasn’t from Epic Games and Chair, but from good old Microsoft Game Studios with a new developer called Tequila Works. Gameplay itself looks like it is much more akin to the classic Prince of Persia style with lots of acrobatic puzzlers.
Right now I’m just straight-up impressed with what I see and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the sleeper-hit of the summer. The game is rumored to be featured on Microsoft’s annual Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. Hit the jump for some video footage!
One of the more…let’s say disturbing entries this year for E3 is definitely the new Tomb Raider reboot.
Honestly I was pretty into the idea of a new Tomb Raider and the Uncharted-inspired gameplay is a great choice for the modern era (but secretly I hope they keep some of the acrobatic puzzles that made the originals so endearing). Anyway, gameplay, dark visuals and creepiness aside, what’s actually disturbing about the new Tomb Raider is its nearly masochistic approach. Consider this: Lara Croft has long been the go-to for female sexuality in video games, so to watch this new version of Lara basically get slapped around the game screaming at every turn just feels downright weird.
Hearing a girl scream has a naturally unnerving feel to it and I just don’t know if that’s what Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics were going for. I get that they want Lara to have some faults, that she can feel pain and maybe that she’s even a little battered (and man they really nailed that battering thing as far as I can tell), but Lara is suppose to be our female hero figure after all. So hearing scream after scream, grunts and moans all on top of it just downright makes me uncomfortable. Its hard to say right now, but if they don’t tone it down a bit I’ll probably have a hard time playing this thing when it finally gets released.
Hit the jump for a preview of the game and the squeamish E3 gameplay presentation.
Going into this week’s E3 coverage I knew 2 certainties: 1) Assassin’s Creed III would be there and 2) the trailer would have a kickass soundtrack like always.
I want to meet the man out there who keeps choosing these songs, because every time I get both goosebumps and a new entry to my song collection. Hit the jump where I’ll take you through past Assassin’s Creed trailers set to great music.
I was definitely a latecomer to the Pikmin games. One of my buddies in college owned a GameCube and I spent a great deal of time catching up on the greats like Eternal Darkness, Wind Waker and Metroid Prime and of course Pikmin.
Pikmin struck quite a few cords with me. Vibrant colors, cute cast of characters, real-time strategy gameplay that worked on a console, none of that is really done very often. The game even dropped the somewhat annoying time limit in its sequel and in college I found the game to be incredibly relaxing with the lights in my living room turned down. But throughout the entire Wii lifespan Pikmin was nowhere to be found, 2004 was the last entry with Pikmin 2.
With no Wii representation, Pikmin has gone on hiatus for nearly 8 years. Its honestly a very refreshing series compared to many other Nintendo titles, so I’ve been incredibly confused over why it hasn’t made a return until now. Such is life though and the Wii-U is probably the right console to make a comeback on with potentially complex controls via the touchscreen. Hit the jump for a short video preview.
Yesterday was all about sequels and basically face lifts to stuff we had already seen before. Then, at the end of Ubisoft’s presentation came Watch Dogs. I’m pretty good at the Hollywood quick pitch so here it goes: “Its GTA meets Deus Ex”. How’s that for instant want-factor?
Ok its actually way more like that recent Syndicate game, but its hard to reference games that are unpopular.
Watch Dogs will see you walking around the streets of a not-too-distance-future Chicago, where your character player will have skills to hack things at will. In the demo our protagonist interrupts the cell phones of everyone at the entrance of a night club to create a distraction and sneak right in (take that Ezio with your money tossing!).
But that was merely the beginning. Throughout the demo it was clear that this game, in true GTA fashion, would involve a lot of non-lethal situations, car stealing, beating and of course gunplay. Also present was a smooth looking cover system, some pretty sweet take-down finishing moves and even a police radar that was very reminiscent of GTA 4’s system. Hit the jump for a full gameplay demo.
From the super corny (somewhat funny) demo commercial to the revelation of an Xbox controller clone, it looks like Nintendo has started us off on the right foot for this year’s E3, even if none of it was unexpected.
“Pre-E3 events” essentially just make the whole thing a few days longer, which I fine with. E3 has become known for jamming so many new announcements and trailers into its 3 weekday span that it takes several weeks to wade through all of it.
My predictions? The Wii U will remain the only console to be released soon, there won’t be any surprise announcements from Sony or Microsoft, Half-Life 3 will not be announced, but beyond all of this stuff that won’t happen, everything else is up for grabs.
Unannounced Title from developer/publisher X seems to be a pretty big part of the schedule, so we might see some unexpected shenanigans. More than likely there’s going to be some really big teases.
What do I want? More than anything some confirmation on the release dates for Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, I really want some new franchises that will wow me in ways I don’t expect and I wouldn’t mind if somebody revealed a new RTS game that doesn’t involve leveling up.
Looking forward to everything and talking about it this week, see you on the other side!