Square Enix and Nintendo sure love streaming, because that’s what they did instead of a regular conference: respectively EIGHTEEN and six hours of content each, and i’ll say it right away, i was only capable to watch Nintendo’s live, i had to watch Square Enix’s trailers separately, because let’s be realistic, EIGTHEEN HOURS (six hours for three days)? Sadly the rest of the conferences left me sleepless (fun fact: i live in europe, where Sony’s ended around 5 Am), and i had to recover.
Enough atpologies though, we have to skim through those eighteen hours of Square Enix, let’s go.
Final Fantasy XV/XII HD
After the downright awkward live gameplay at Microsoft’s conference (which i didn’t even mention, it was THAT bad), Square Enix showed how you’re supposed to play Final Fantasy XV with a special “e3 mission”, the Trial of the Titan: in this showcase, the Backstreet Bo-i mean Noctis’ party fight a…well…titan, to prove him that Noctis is fit to inherit his power. So, after a short escape sequence and a quicktime event involving parrying the Titan’s punches with a greatsword, the fight flows quite nicely: Noctis is able to warp around while slashing, so you see him pulling all sorts of Tracer-like maneuvers, teleporting around the behemoth’s hands to get some hits in, and once on the ground occasional QTEs (which inclusion i find questionable…why not a simple block mechanic?) allow him to counter the titan’s attacks and stun him for a short period of time; of course, this game being a Final Fantasy and all, the “special moves” ,like the warping attack, at your disposal are limited by a meter, and while you still control just Noctis, the rest of the party actually helps you by healing and enchanting your weapons, allowing you to use classic spells like Blizzara, used in the showcase…everything’s pretty by the book, really
Also, the Regalia, Noctis’ crew’s car can turn into a jet (Type-F), because screw airships.
The other “big” announcement Square gave about the FF series (outside some mobile game) was the release of an HD Remaster of FFXII, and considering i -as a “casual” on the matter of RPGs- know FFX by heart but i’ve never even SEEN XII, it’s probably a good idea, to boost its popularity and whatnot.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
And finally we get to Deus Ex! This time Square showed off the first mission of the game, where Adam Jensen is sent, along with a strike force of regular human soldiers, to take on an augmented terrrist group, and ensure the safety of one of their contacts who led them to it, and while the guy playing clearly knew what he was doing, almost pulling off a perfect stealth run and managing to stay non-lethal for the whole mission, the poor guy they had to protect during an arms deal got offed, with the arms dealer, by a squad of masked cyborgs, who opened fire on everything that moved.
The game looked, as expected, amazing: all of the augmentations from Human Revolution are back, along with plenty of new ones, and some of them seem to be available from the start, allowing for a bit more freedom of action, especially when talking infiltration. The returning ones have obviously being reworked and rebalanced, like the Smart Vision, which now looks a lot more like Metal Gear Rising’s Enhanced AR: grey/blue vision with incoming threats highlighted in red, along with their equipment and possible loot, like credit chips, pocket secretaries and ammo.
Another big shocker was that, for first time in Deus Ex History, the tranquilizer rifle wasn’t shown to be complete garbage! Both in looks and function, it has been greatly refined, not shaking around incontrollably while aiming, with a faster reload time and a really sleek white and red frame that looks like an actual sniper rifle, a far cry from the prequel’s desert-camoed animal tranquilizer.
What can i say? The guys at Eidos are clearly nailing it, and this gameplay is just other evidence to add to the pile.
Oh, right, almost forgot: Breach Mode has been shown again, for those who missed the pre-e3 Eidos stream. It’s basically a hacking, but your program now has humanoid low-poly shape and the defenses of the system you’re breaching in are actual guards, drones and turrets. It’s a nice way to “recycle” assets and mechanics by changing their looks and names, and looks like it’s gonna be pretty fun. It’ll be included in the final game for free, obviously.
Now THIS is a gameplay presentation, Platinum! Clean, smooth, that emphasises the double nature of this sequel of the critically acclaimed action RPG “Nier”: under this melancholic and “artsy” post-apocaliptic RPG, beats the heart of a pure character action game with 3d bullet hell elements, a match of Taro Yoko storytelling and trademark Platium gameplay truly made in heaven.
The E3 gameplay showed the androids YoRHa 2B (the girl in the picture above) and 9S facing off against an eerie looking animatronic dressed in a once beautiful baroque dress (decorated with tiny robot corpses), that used regular “character action” attacks and projectile patterns typical of 2D bullet hell games: about halfway in the screen looked like a 3D recreation of a Touhou game, and it was nothing short of amazing.
The player character, 2B, has also the chance to play bullet hell with her foes, thanks to a machine gun unit that constantly floats around her, in a similar fashion to the book from the original NiER (or an Option from Gradius, to put it simple), and the aiming is controlled with the camera and/or with the lock-on functionality typical of other Platinum titles…for the rest, the gameplay is pretty straightforward: you got your light and heavy attacks comboable in all kinds of ways, you got your dodge (without bullet time, though), and it’s safe to bet that dodge offsets, resets and whatnot will also be part of the final release’s combat system.
Let’s go Platinum, what can i say?
Agents of Mayhem
Overwatch meets Saint’s Row in this open world “hero based” third person shooter, where you get a team of three characters to switch on the fly, each one with specific weapons, sets of skills and “mayhem” moves, only this time in an open world enviroment: your characters are agents of the M.A.Y.H.E.M., the Multinational AgencY for Hunting Evil Masterminds, founded by Persephone Brimstone, and your goal is to capture -dead or alive- the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N., or League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations, who goes by the name of Dr. Babylon and attacked Seoul to get his hands on the “Zero Point Dynamo”, a superbattery that creates infinite energy, that he’ll probably use to wreak havoc with the satellite cannon shown in the cinematic trailer, if everything goes according to plan. Fortunately enough, M.A.Y.H.E.M. operatives are pretty carefree when it comes to collateral damage, and if stopping this fool means blowing up a few apartment blocks, so be it.
The currently known characters are FORTUNE, aka Marina Santos, the glass cannon of the bunch: dual wields pistols, high mobility, stun grenades and can use an armed drone as companion, HARDTACK, aka Ishmael Funderburke, a self-proclaimed badass sailor who uses an automatic shotgun and an harpoon as a melee and throwable weapon, and HOLLYWOOD, basically Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat, who goes to fill the role of “basic assault rifle class”, even though the moves in his repertoire are not basic at all. Of course the roster is gonna fill up with other nine “heroes” for a total of 12, and an “archer” class was briefly shown in one of the gameplays.
The structure of the game and pacing themselves is going to be reminiscent of titles like Saint’s Row, where you alternate between time on the field and time in “the crib” (this time is a base called A.R.K), where you micromanage upgrades, funds and so on, and of course, being a Volition game, you can expect any form of seriousness to be left out the door, starting with the agents themselves, who banter most of the time between a “hot tag” and the other on the field.
As far as what i’ve seen, looks like an alright game, one of those solid 8s that don’t change the world but are just a good way to spend 40 dollars. If you’re a fan of comic book styled games and third person shooters, and you ran out of f*cks to give about the story in a videogame, keep an eye out for this one.
I Am Setsuna
This one looks inspired by classic Final Fantasy games, taking the camera angles and “semi-chibi” character design typical of the SNES days but giving it a 3D coat of paint, and the combat looks pretty old school too, turn based with no “action commands” or input-based attacks: just you, your enemy and your brain, just like in the ’90s.
I’m not a fan of games like these, but i know some folks who were ready to sacrifice goats for Square to release something like this, so there you have it! It comes out July the 19th on PS4 (and possibly Vita).
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfullness
A mid-quel between Second Story and Till The End of Time, this Star Trek-inspired RPG…well…looks really cool, and that’s all i can say for sure about the story, frankly: the trailer talked about a contact with another space traveling race (outside of the humans), that turned the protagonist’s planet into toast and…well…stuff that people who actually played other games of the series will probably understand.
Sorry about this one, i disn’t know Star Ocean was a series until five minutes ago, all i can say is: if you played the previous entries, you’ll probably love this one, because if to an outsider like me a JRPG manages to look good, it means it probably has something going.
To forget about this shamefur dispray, let’s move on to something i actually know!
The Nintendo Digital Event was basically, outside of 20 minutes dedicated to Pokemon Sun & Moon, a 6 hours Zeldacast, and here’s what it came out of it!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
What is this game?
This game is all of the games: it’s Dark Souls, it’s Shadow of the Colossus, it’s Metal Gear Solid V, it’s Devil May Cry, it’s Tony Hawk, it’s Far Cry, it’s Cooking Mama, it’s the FIRST The Legend of Zelda, the one where you got dropped into this big freaking world with literally nothing, an old man gave you a sword and off you went, adventuring!
You’re Link, but not some farmer Link, you’re Doomguy Link: you wake up in the SHRINE OF RESURRECTION in your underwear, where a voice tells you to open your eyes and GO, LET THE LEGEND COME BACK TO LIFE, so you get up from your alien-looking bed, you grab some clothes (now there’s multiple kinds of them, and all have different effects and LORE) and get out, and what welcomes you is just…everything: you see that landscape in the picture above? Yeah. That’s all explorable. YOU SEE THAT MOUNTAIN OVER THERE? YOU CAN CLIMB IT, FOR REAL! Because you have a stamina meter used for running and climbing ANYWHERE, talk about a game changer! But hear me out, it’s not done: hearts? Screw those! Real men hunt their food, so go kill a boar or steal some moblin’s lunch after you brutally murder them with their own weapons, that’s how you replenish your health: find animal, kill animal, cook it with a bonfire, because you can start bonfire by hitting branches with your sword now…but did i say sword? Yeah, good luck finding that, dumdum! Fortunately enough, EVERYTHING is a weapon now! See that tree branch? Pick it up and stab the final boss in the eye with that, because yes, you can just run off -naked- to the final boss if you know where he’s located…or just be lame and find weapons and equipment inside chests, you know.
Ok, that incoherent stream of nonsense was the most effective way to describe the train of thought while playing that game: nothing is given to you, just run off and do your thing, you’ll probably find a military grade bow in the chest up on the peak of that mountain, if you try hard enough, but watch out: if you enter snowy enviroments with light clothes you’ll take damage from the cold. Oh, you want bombs now? Go get them, they’re in a Trial Dungeon (basically a mini-dungeon, without a boss) somewhere. What’s that, you need a horse? Mount one, there’s a herd a few miles from here. An enemy outpost gives you trouble? Push a boulder down there and watch them getting squashed, or steal all their weapons before they get to them, it’s your call really.
And that is why i’m hyped as f*ck for this game: it’s your call, really.
…you can’t even choose to NOT follow story, how sick is that?
Ok, hang in there, the next article is the last one, than we can go back to our regularly scheduled whatever, and talk about ONE game at a time: up next is Sony, but i could just post a picture of Norman Reedus staring naked in the distance with dead cyberwhales all around him, in what’s gonna be Hideo Kojima next mindf*ck and just call it a day, really.
I hope this didn’t drag on for too long, this is The 3rd Runner, signing off.