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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Fission Mailure E3 Round-up.

Hey, guys. I have some new Let's Plays up, in the form of Let's Play Guns of Icarus - Fjord-Pining, and Valkyria Chronicles [P16] Big Damn Heroes.

Also, for people wondering when the next Drive review is going up, that'll be tomorrow.

Fission Mailure
E3 Round-up.
(Or 'What Games Caught Our Attention.')

In a surprising twist of fate, E3 has turned out to be not terrible this year, giving us a plethora of game announcements - either new releases or updates on games we've known were coming for a while - all delivered in a usually competent fashion. I was as shocked as anyone.

As with last year, I'm going to give a brief rundown of the games that caught my interest this year. Unlike last year, I'm not going to give a rundown of all of them. Games that I am somewhat interested in but didn't make this list were Fallout 4 (because that was announced a fair while before E3 and we didn't get much new information at the press conference), Final Fantasy VII Remake, Unravel, Genei Ibunroku #FE (like Fallout 4, it was announced quite a while ago, and all we got out of E3 was a new trailer), and Hitman.

Dishonored 2.

As anyone who has ever listened to me talk about anything, related to video games or not, will have found out sooner or later. I really like Dishonored. I like it enough that I've played it multiple times. I own it on the Xbox 360 and the PC.  I like it enough that it is literally the only game I have ever purchased DLC for. 

People have been saying that Dishonored 2 would be showing up at E3 for at least a few years now, and it has not turned out to be true until this year, because apparently even a broken clock is right when fan outcry about it being wrong eventually forces the clockmaker to release a new clock in which one of the hands is a beloved fan favourite now grown up into a badass assassin. Or something. 

The announcement didn't tell us much, bar that you would be able to play as Emily, Corvo's adopted (and possibly also biological) daughter, and that she would have a different powerset to Corvo - instead of Corvo's blink ability, she seems to project a shadowy tendril to pull herself towards things, and she also appears to have the power to transform into a shadowy monster. The time stop ability that both Corvo and Daud possess also shows up.

I am very excited by this, and I think it could be really great. Dishonored was a game that demanded a sequel but didn't, really, require much improvement upon, so as long as Bethesda keeps doing what they're doing, we'll all be just fine. If, however, they feel the urge to suddenly change everything for no good reason - because they've been possessed by the ghost of Square-Enix or something - then I shall be forced to dispose of them in a humane and bloodless manner. 

Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Mass Effect: Andromeda has a trailer that is mostly scenery porn, so there's not a lot I can say about it. The setting of another galaxy suggests an almost frontier-esque schtick, with explorers striking out into unknown territories where they will hopefully find new alien species and new threats. That could be very interesting.

Oh, the trailer does show us that the Mako is back, because 'I really hope that the clumsy car from the first game comes back so that I can intermittently want to saw off my own thumbs' was what every fan was thinking.

I have so many questions. Who is your protagonist? Will you get to pick a species? Who will the new villains be? What three colours will they pick for the functionally indistinguishable ending cutscenes? Yes, I'm still bitter about that, screw you.

The Last Guardian.

If there are three things gamers like, it's dogs, birds, and Team Ico games, which is probably why Team Ico is releasing a game about a dog that is also a bird, the canny rakes. In development for literally as long as Montenegro has been a country, many people didn't think that The Last Guardian would ever actually materialise, and yet here it is, at E3, with proper gameplay, due to be released next year.

The Last Guardian looks beautiful, engaging, adorable, and faintly sinister in that way that all Team Ico games are faintly sinister, whether they're trying to be or not. You play as a boy who appears to be in a vast, ruined city, and has befriended a massive bird-dog who will help solve puzzles. Start placing your bets now on which one of them is going to meet with a fate not-quite-as-bad as death.

No clue on how it ties into Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, but the answer is probably 'just vaguely enough that fans will still be speculating on it years and years later, because confusion is what feeds Team Ico's power'. 

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness.

I'm not a big fan of Star Ocean, largely because every time I try to play one I end up wishing only for the sweet release of death, but I'm always open to having my mind changed, and Square-Enix seems absolutely dead set on changing it.

The trailer is half exposition and about a quarter people running around, because Square-Enix has apparently figured out that the way to sell a JRPG to me is to just to show me endless clips of people running and/or walking around very pretty landscapes and towns.

I'm not kidding, I am all over that. Show me that your JRPG will let me explore a town and its surrounding environs, and I will be there with bells on, because JRPGs were open world long, long before that idea ever caught on in other genres, and I will never let anyone forget that ever, least of all JRPG developers, who are the people who seem in most danger of forgetting. 

Will this be the Star Ocean game that changes my stance on the series? That depends entirely on how quickly they get to the juicy walking around parts. No, I'm still not kidding. 

Kingdom Hearts III.

Oh, look, actual gameplay for Kingdom Hearts III. Obviously, it's still never going to be released, and we will all perish of old age waiting for it, so just assume that the rest of this section is written from the perspective of a Murphy from an alternate universe where Tetsuya Nomura is a competent game director. 


Jesus Christ, how did Sora's pecs get so prominent - seriously, you can see them over the top of his shirt, he's practically barrel-chested - while his arms are still so skinny? That's weird, man.

In other news, the graphics are gorgeous and, like its predecessors' graphics, most likely timeless - say what you will about the series, but Kingdom Hearts II's graphics still hold up a decade later. The worlds seem to be larger and more open (and not just boxes with forests painted on), and Sora seems to have a plethora of new abilities, including several themed around rollercoasters, I presume because Disney threatened to murder the devs' families if they didn't somehow promote Disney World's attractions. 

Most interesting to me, though, is the plot scene with a young Xehanort and a young Eraqus playing chess. Eraqus is portrayed as much more canny and cunning in this game than he was in Birth by Sleep, and Xehanort seems like he wants his own plans to fail. What does it mean?

Project Setsuna.

Project Setsuna is Square-Enix's new JRPG IP, and we know absolutely nothing about it, except that it has a town and also a person. Maybe multiple people - who knows. Certainly not the host of the presentation, who said 'There aren't too many details I can share at this time' in the same way that some people say 'The world is a terrifying cacophony of noise and madness and pain' or 'She waits to devour.' 

Without ... well, without anything, literally anything at all, they might as well not have bothered announcing it, I can't say too much. I like towns? I generally like my games to have at least some people in? Based on those criteria alone, Project Setsuna might end up being my favourite game.

Of course, this is Square-Enix we're talking about, so whether they actually plan on even finishing it is, unfortunately, one of the details they can't share at this time.

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