Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

E3 Days 1-2

Posted by deckard47 on June 4, 2009

Yeah, I’m being original up there. It’s 10pm here, I’m tired as hell, and I want SLEEP! But first, because I care, I’m going to say what I thought about the things I payed attention to today and yesterday. Probably not as much as I’d like to say, but that can come later, I think. For now, enjoy these minute, barely competent descritpions:

Red Faction: A lot of you have already played the multiplayer (if not, download it). It’s sweet. You get a bunch of ok weapons, and an amazing super sledge hammer. Then you get backpacks that make you jump high, move fast, cause mini-earthquakes, blast through solid concrete walls, or heal yourself. Then you do this with 9 other people who are all doing the same thing. I’ll be honest, in my young mind, this is how badass I always thought Laser Tag would be. It is amazing. Haven’t even tried single player, and I still want this game. – Arbitrary Grade/Description: Game that made me feel like a child with Star Wars action figures again.

More!:

Dante’s Inferno: You know it: a total God of War play-alike that uses Virgil’s famous works as “inspiration.” What this boils down to (and I’m not kidding) is something that looks infinitely more appealing than God of War. I don’t have to listen to Kratos repeatedly hemorrhaging his neck and face muscles, I don’t have to talk to seksy-demon-temptress-oracles who want to do me. Instead, there’s cool combat, cool graphics, and the art of Wayne Barlow. Put it this way: God of War looked tired, it looked like a game trying to convince us that a big angry giant trying to crush us was new. It wanted us to feel that climbing inside him and around him and other things that involve Intenseness was totally mind-blowing. It also seemed to think that ripping body parts off of enemies was totally rad (although so did Dead Space, as does Inferno). In the end, I liked the look of this because it looked really smooth, the art wasn’t another damn “Roman” building, and the hero was mercifully silent. Plus the enemies look like something out of Barlowe’s Expedition. As they should. – Arbitrary Grade/Description: Most surprisingly might-be-fun/I-thought-it-would-suck game (or, Game That Proves I Need to Trust the Dead Space Guys More).

Torchlight: A sweet looking action-RPG, it looks like a more stylized Diablo 3. Yes, it’s bright, characters have big hands, and everything looks quite pretty and pseudo cel shaded. I only got to play the Fighter type, but the combat was fun, the skills, items, pets, and other aspects looked fun, and the people who made it are cool. It’s going to be a free single player/MMO experience, with optional micro-transactions. This looks like the real thing. Let me just say it: I don’t care about Diablo 3. This will do me fine, the devs are cool, the game will ship with the complete editor’s toolset (you can even make whole new classes!). Give it a look.

Dragon Age: Khhhhaaaaaannnnn! Wait, let me explain. I want to say a ton of amazing things about this. And the game looks good. Let me rephrase: the faces have looks shitty in the videos they’ve released. Up close, on a monitor in hi-def, those faces look Mass Effect good. The acting is good, the graphics look great overall, and the world looks well-realized. And then Marc Laidlaw, the Lead Designer on the game, starts talking about the “sexy good girl redhead” you can enter into a relationship with. Really? And then he introduces the “bad girl sexy sorcoress.” Again. What? He, and the EA/Bioware team, are making me want to not buy this game. It makes The Witcher look fucking nuanced. The sad, hilarious thing was, after he gleefully (urged on by some chortling fellow press members) enacted a Hawt sorcoress sex scene, went to talk to the other woman who was romantically interested in the main character. And she told him he was a dick, and that he should treat both women with respect, and that he had better get smart and apologize to both and change his behavior or fuck off. I’m saying that this character in this game was more sympathetic than the human being presenting the game. Bizarre.

The sad thing is, the gameplay didn’t look great either. They were using the zoomed in, Mass Effect view, and it didn’t feel tactical, it felt rushed, garbled, and imprecise. I’m sure you can play that way, but when I gave it a shot, it felt ham-stringed. It made Mass Effect 360 seem like an elegent work of art. If you buy this on a console, I think you’re being quietly screwed. Maybe you get used to it… Right now, the close-up console view and controls seem barely adequate for the obviously complex tactical scenarios they’re throwing at you (including a shape-changing Dragon!). All of this is to say I’m still excited. Deswpite their best “lustful,” efforts, I refuse to think that this game will make The Legend of the Seeker look like a Henry James novel. Bioware, you task me. And I remain true! I’d like to point out that maybe Marc Laidlaw has been forced to talk about how lustfull and super violent and tattooed and taking your child out for a date and bringing him/her back an hour past curfew his game is. Maybe. But he just sounded like he relished saying those unpleasantly offensive words. I realize he has to appeal to the “audience” that they’re targeting here, but it’s a pretty degrading way to sell the game, to him and to it. And yet, when I think about the fact that how much your party members like you depends on how you treat them, if you do quests that involve their personalities and backstories, if you preference other party members against them, and a whole slew of other opportunities, I can’t help but be very excited. This is going to make that Aerie/Minsc thing look like nothing.- Arbitrary Grade/Description: Worst presented game that I still secretly long for.

Mass Effect 2: Take everything I said about the bad Dragon Age presentation and reverse it. Casey Hudson, the man giving this presentation was smart, he sold the game well and maturely, and let the game do the talking for him. The cutscenes looked better (remember those bad self-shadowing monstrous blobs? They look like real shadowed faces now), the acting was great, the pacing was better, the combat looked more fluid, fast, and intuitive, and the effects were great. The music was amazing, the secret “is Sheppard dead” cutscene both blew my mind and was expertly directed, and in general the game left an amazing impression on me, from just a non-playable, possibly canned footage showing. You can interrupt some conversations using the triggers, it seems. In this case, our demo operator used it to throw an uncooperative man out a window into a bustling Fifth Element city. Go Sheppard!

In Mass Effect 2, Sheppard is apparently working with Cerberus (What!? I know! Weird) to find and confront a new power in the galaxy that is capturing and murdering (or worse!) human beings. To do so, you have to recruit the most deadly, dangerous, and not necessarily nice badasses in the galaxy. The badass state of the badass art, if you will.  Sadly, you can’t hire Ripley or Hicks, but you can hire lizzard assassins. I was getting worried there. In the last cutscene, Hudson explained that every decision you made and every alliance and friendship that you made or broke would change the outcome of the game. In the movie, the Normandy is breaking up, submarine style. Sheppard gets everyone out, but then goes to the bridge to find Joker, who is staying at the helm  to the last (and surviving in vacuum without a suit… Strange). Sheppard fails, and is blasted into space, venting oxygen and dying. Hudson said that there is an ending to ME 2 where Sheppard dies, and that we had just watched it (kind of). It was, as I said, an amazing cutscene. I am more excited for this game than I was the last time I wrote this kind of glowing post. I may go back again tomorrow, to listen to Hudson explain how amazing this game will be. – Arbitrary Grade/Description: Best game that I knew would be mind blowing (for real, my mind was blown), and totally will be.

Blur: A race car game that looks like a serious racer but plays like Mario Kart. The graphics are sweet, the gameplay is fast, and everyone gets weapons, powerups, and shields. I’m waiting for someone to say “It’s aaahhhh meeeeeee!” whenever I play it. It’s very well presented, the campaign sounds like a cool pseudo-RPG affair, and there’s 4 player splitscreen. I’m having trouble explaining why I liked this so much. I think it’s because every other racing game there (including all 15 of the Need For Speeds) looked awful. I’d check it out as soon as you can. – Arbitrary Grade/Description: Best racing game that stood out from all of bad racing games, and lets you “shunt” people. I wanted to shunt so many people on the freeway today. Best game that also lets you race in the LA river without involving the Diesel or the Cage.

There are many others I should write a bit about, but this one deserves special mention.

Venetica: Remember this? I only saw it for 5 minutes or so, but it looks really great. You play Venetica, Death’s unwanted (by society, not him!) daughter who must help Death send the restless ghosts of Venice to their final resting place. It looks fantastical, beautiful, and like the perfect cross between The Witcher and Fable 2. I’m not just saying that because their really nice designers said that. It’s pretty and strange, for a fantasy setting. It doesn’t look as “realistic” as Assassin’s Creed 2, it looks stylize like Fable 2, but in a slightly sinister Witcher way, not a cutesy British way. The graphics are aweome (although it chugs a bit), the spells are cool, and the Netherworld is an interesting mechanic. This game looks like a really fun action adventure-RPG, and it looks different from everything else at E3. I wish I’d played it, but it’s not that far along yet. The cool thing is they told me that the dialogue was written and performed in English first, so we won’t be experiencing that “oddly translated” feel other foreign games sometimes have. I’ll write more about this when I find out more, but right now (despite Mass Effect 2‘s obvious, powerful grip on my mind) this is the game that I’ve been most surprised and pleased by, all things considered. – Arbitrary Grade/Description: Best game that makes me wonder why every other game is such a big deal. Also best game that lets me play as a relative of Death. Also best game that lets me talk to men wearing funny hats.

Most Disappointing Things:

1. AvP3‘s graphics and animations looking quite mediocre in motion: Please, please let them fiddle with it and get it right.

2. Alpha Protocol: Allowing to make your hero all kinds of weird looking white dude (with beards and eyes and glasses), but not anything but a white guy. Is his “personality” and “character” really that grounded in the absolute banal “average” person. Infuriating.

3. 50 year old dudes trying to salivate onto young women, youngish women, and of course the models hired to sell and advertise stuff. Creepy.

4. These games not showing up: Beyond Good and Evil 2, HoMM (that multiplayer browser game?), The Witcher (anything!), Half Life 2: Episode 3, Deus Ex 3, Thief 4 or the hotly (no, burningly) anticipated prequel to Drakensang, wonderfully named The Dark Eye: Drakensang: The River of Time. Yes! E3 owes me now. Next time, they’d better show.

Oh, and here are some Venetica and Torchlight screens. It turns out that I also forgot the cable that connects my camera to m computer, so that has something to do with there being no show floor photos (and this includes a giant plastic replica of one o the mechs from the movie game Avatar, from James Cameron. I know, I’m a loser). Tomorrow will be less frantic, and involve me chilling and going back and looking at stuff I missed, or stuff that deserves a second glance. It will also involve me writing up my toughts on Batman: Arkham Asylum, Section 8, Closure, and Dear Esther.

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