E3 2014: the morning after

Unfortunately, I can’t do the super-in-depth impressions of yesterday’s press conferences that I was hoping to be able to do; I’m home with my son who’s running a high fever, and there’s no telling how much time I’m going to have to formulate my thoughts – he’s currently trying to take a nap, actually, and there’s no telling how long he’ll stay down.  Even if I weren’t home with him, though, that Sony presser ran pretty long, and so I’m sorta wiped out.

It should go without saying that the Grim Fandango HD announcement knocked me out of my chair.  Grim is one of my all-time favorite games, and I’ve been hoping for some sort of HD remake for years – I even said so in my E3 2013 wishlist (see #5).  So the fact that it’s actually happening is freaking me out.  I don’t care what happens over the next few days – that announcement is the #1 highlight of the show for me, no question.

Microsoft gave about as good a press conference as one could hope for; all games, no bullshit, and their exclusive stuff doesn’t look half bad.  Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 both look terrific, actually, and I even got somewhat excited about the Halo Master Chief Collection.  I was also obviously excited to see Crackdown 3, though the trailer wasn’t exactly much of a gameplay reveal; and considering how terrible Crackdown 2 was, I’m still a bit wary – the thought of chasing after next-gen orbs is enticing, to be sure, but I need to see a bit more before I start saving up my money.  Reviving Phantom Dust is an interesting idea; I played a fair amount of the original game back in the day, though I worry about microtransaction abuse.  More importantly, Microsoft’s collection of indie titles look pretty great – Cuphead in particular has a fantastic look.  Inside, the new game from the creators of Limbo, was another highlight (even if it also looks a bit like Limbo 2).

Ultimately, I came away from their presser feeling a bit more optimistic about the Xbox One.  I’m not necessarily 100% sold just yet, but I’m a lot closer today than I was yesterday morning.

That said, Sony’s press conference was outstanding, for the second year in a row – even if there was a bit of a snooze-fest there in the middle, and even though there wasn’t nearly enough Vita coverage as I’d have liked.  Any fears I had about Sony dropping the ball, or being too complacent now that they’d reclaimed 1st place, were immediately wiped away.  Even without the Grim Fandango announcement, they threw one top-notch title after another for a good 45 minutes at least – and the Devolver Digital montage that immediately followed the Grim announcement was amazing, and I only wish I’d been able to focus on it a bit more.  (You gotta understand – I’m still quivering about the Grim thing.)   I’m having trouble remembering everything they announced, but certainly No Man’s Sky continues to look absolutely incredible.

As far as multi-platform games go, I’m certainly very pleased to see a new Tomb Raider – and while it wasn’t shown in any of the press conferences, apparently there’s also going to be a new Guardians of Light sequel, too, which is great news.  The next-gen-only Assassin’s Creed Unity looks a lot better than I’d anticipated, and 4-player online co-op is very exciting indeed.  I’m feeling a little weird about Far Cry 4; some of it looks absolutely incredible – like a first-person Uncharted – but the narrative stuff is, as always, what worries me.  I’m also really happy to see that EA’s new, Tiger Woods-free golf game is returning to the craziness of its early years – those new fantasy courses look ridiculous, which is great.  I didn’t necessarily lose my shit over either Dragon Age Inquisition or Witcher 3, but they certainly look promising.  Sony’s reveal of Batman gameplay footage looked absolutely insane – the Batmobile in particular is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  And having GTA V on the new consoles is good news; it’s not the Red Dead 2 I was hoping to hear about, and I’m not sure I’m going to buy it again, but being able to transfer my 360’s online profile to the PS4 is the sort of news that makes a double-dip a bit easier to swallow.

(Gotta sign off now – the kid awakes.)

 



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