In the Valve-y of Gods? Anyone?
Hear that? That’s the sound of games journalists everywhere taking a deep breath, gaming’s Superbowl over for another year, our beds calling our name, while fast food establishments across Los Angeles cross their fingers that they’ll show up in this year’s John Michonski Experience.
As ever, E3 brought us games by the bucketload, some good, and some… well, not so good. Now that we’ve had a chance to breathe and stew on what we’ve seen over the last week, Chooch’s home team have convened to bring you our picks for the best and worst in show.
Look, you read the site, you listen to the podcasts – you know your boy loves David Cage, and you’re probably expecting me to take the easy route here and give my Game of the Show honors to Gaming’s Messiah, and Detroit: Become Human. Or maybe you’re thinking that, hey, Niall loves snowboarding, so maybe Steep most tickled my fancy? Possibly We Happy Few, or Persona 5, could also be in with a shout, but even though all these games have me suitably pumped, there’s one game that I just haven’t been able to get out of my head since its unveiling, and that’s Gwent.
I played a lot of Witcher 3 last year; and a lot of that time was spent on Gwent. What initially seemed to be a tacked on mini-game bore itself out into a deep, frightfully addictive experience, and now that it’s going to be fleshed out and have it’s own single-player narrative, I simply cannot stop thinking about it. I’m no good at card games, but Gwent has me chomping at the bit to actually get out there and learn to play one at a decent level. At the very least, I wanna be able to beat Mike Cosimano at it, because who doesn’t wanna beat Cosimano at everything? Nobody, that’s who. Because he sucks.
There’s a very strong compulsion on my end to take the easy road here, too, and just give this one to Bad Rats Show. I’m not gonna, though, ’cause we know already that Bad Rats is going to be a stinker, it’s not going to surprise anyone. Instead, I think it’s prescient to hang the dunce cap on the head of one of two Triple-A exclusive titles that stunk the show up this year, Scalebound and Days Gone.
As bad as Scalebound looked – and it did, indeed, look very bad – I think Days Gone just about edges things as far as the Worst of E3 goes. I mean, Sony closed the show with it, for Christ’s sake! I have no idea what was going through Shu Yoshida and company’s minds when they decided to close with that turd, but boy, did it take the wind out of Sony’s sails. How the hell do you trot out a major new Triple-A franchise and present it as nothing more than a mindless shooter in which waves of zombies run straight at you in single file? It’s concerning, and if this is the direction Sony’s heading in, I may have to hold off on finally buying a PS4 for just a lil’ longer.
Microsoft, Platinum and Hideki Kamiya can breath a sigh of relief; they only gave us the second-worst showing of the week.
Now, it might just be from the hours upon hours of livestream coverage Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild received, but that game is so goddamn cool. It’s like they managed to tap into every single thing in my brain that activates pleasure centers. They went above and beyond my expectations for that game and they only showed off the first area. I’m sure some of the mechanics they revealed (like the variety of different bombs you can use or the ability to pick up and move objects in the environment) will be spaced out more in the overworld and this was just a demo to give people a taste of what the proper game will offer, but I’m still excited. They give the tools to make the experience more difficult for yourself, and difficulty is something modern Zelda games have sorely lacked. All the fire effects in the game work more like real life fire than any game I’ve seen in recent years. It’s such an impressive sandbox and I’m hoping the NX winds up with sharing capabilities similar to the Xbox One and PS4, because even watching clips of the crazy stuff people come up with will provide endless entertainment. The tingles I get from thinking about this game are only comparable to kidnapping roleplay ASMR videos. I can’t remember anything that’s gotten me so stoked before.
My body has a natural reaction to flush everything I hate out of my memory about one day after I’ve seen it, so there isn’t that much that sticks out in my mind as being aggressively bad. That said, everything I’ve heard about the Final Fantasy XV VR Experience sounds like a dumpster fire. So far, the demo they showed was about five minutes of you standing in one spot and shooting a gun at a big enemy and it’s not particularly interesting and engaging, and then you get to ogle a girl who’s half naked and driving you around. What is Final Fantasy XV anymore? I legitimately have no idea. Everything I’ve tried to parse from all the coverage that game has gotten seems like a poorly brewed concoction of ideas that’s gotten so bloated that they basically have to just release it into the wild and hope it doesn’t flop. It’s the MGSV of 2016. I still want to play it. I want to know.
Also, I know I talked about this in the Best and Worst E3 Conferences piece but I want to give an extra special fuck you to Days Gone, which caused me such frustration that I accidentally banged my already sprained ankle on the hardwood oak footboard of my double-king sized bed. Covering that game also caused me to cover my ankle with my hands, and while I bent over my head knocked over not only several individually picked and arranged doritos but also my entire Limited Edition Bray Wyatt 7-11 Cup full of kombucha onto said doritos AND my late great great grandmother’s New King Of The Jungle Authentic Hand Knit Persian Rug (the rug wasn’t hers, but the money from the inheritance certainly was). My dear, precious Bray Wyatt plastic cup also shattered upon impact of hitting the sogged up ‘ritos. Whilst trying the kombucha covered nacho cheese flavored dorries for myself straight off my gggrammy’s $92,800 rug, I swallowed a piece of Bray Wyatt’s plastic beard which also caused severe cuts on the roof of my mouth.
Days Gone has been a burden on my life, and I expect Sony to fully reimburse me for the wasted ‘buch and ‘rits, a replacement carpet of equal or greater value, my medical expenses, emotional damages, and sentimental value. That will also guarantee a review score of 4 stars or greater on Video Game Choo Choo dot com. Balls in your court, Sony. Also, I have already filed a patent for Kombucha Flavored Doritos so if I see any BULLSHIT from you, Frito-Lay, I WILL cry.
I am not a Nintendo fan. I do not own a Wii U, barely played my Wii and haven’t played a Pokemon game since elementary school. When I talked about my E3 hopes I said I had some interest in the new Zelda game, but everything they showed of it blew me away. The look of this game is incredible and just how open it seems has me excited. This is something that feels familiar but also like a much needed change for a series that feels like it’s been spinning wheels.
It may speak to how stagnant the series was, but seeing Link change clothes, swap weapons and throw weapons away excited me. Just the fact that Link never was seen wearing the trademark green tunic at any point tells me exactly what this game is. It’s Legend of Zelda, finally moving forward, finally throwing down things that held it back, while keeping what made it special.
There were a lot of things I was bored by during E3. I don’t care for Fifa or Madden eSports. Days Gone looks just plain, well, plain. The only thing that really caused me to actually hate it though, was South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The first one was impressive in just how it captured the show’s look but with that feat old news, we’re just left with the unfunny bits from the show.
Having the most awkward stage show during a Ubisoft conference is an incredible accomplishment and Matt Stone and Trey Parker pulled it off. I get that there are people who like their comedy but asking around, it seems like no one liked what they were bringing to the table this year.
Naming a “best game” for this year’s E3 is something of a challenge, considering most of the actual gameplay we saw, be it for Days Gone or that one pirate game with the fake voice chat, came across as fairly mediocre. However, there was one dark horse that emerged from the fog, and that was Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. My interest in the series has always been tangential best, and I’ve never finished any of the few Zelda games I’ve bothered to pick up. However, I found myself being constantly impressed by the extended Breath of the Wild stream, particularly in how surprised I was that Nintendo would take such leaps with a well-established franchise.
Breath of the Wild offered up enough “wow” factor to get me interested in a franchise I’ve never cared about, and that’s “best game” material in my book.
“Worst game” calls for almost more of a discerning eye than “best game,” requiring me to cut through the swaths of mediocre tripe like a machete-wielding Indiana Jones in the jungles of disinterest, in search of the game which can truly be considered “worst.” Despite South Park’s atrocious showing, I can safely say that game will have an appeal to fans of the franchise.
Therefore, the “worst game” baton gets passed down to Days Gone, a game with a trailer that looked inoffensively mediocre but gameplay that came across like a loud, soggy, ten minute fart ripped in an otherwise enjoyable baby shower. The visuals were bland and the gameplay looked terribly repetitive to the point of being a slog. Days Gone lost out to the incredible Dead Rising 4 in the zombie category, but that’s because it simply looks like hot trash in comparison to every other game showed at any conference. It’s also made by the creators of Bubsy 3D, so think on that for a while.