This week, Zero Punctuation reviews E3 2014.
Hey kids! Let's see if we can think of three words that start with "E"! Here's one: "excruciating." That'll do for a start. Here's another one... Huh, actually, I seem to be kind of fixated on the word "excruciating" for the moment. Oh wait, I've got one now! "End," as in: "end this execrable endurance event entailing eager editors endlessly entreating eminent entertainment egotists for efficacious endowments of effluence!" And for a third and final "E" word: "eggnog." There we go, three Es for E3. E3 2014, to be precise, or to give it its true name: "The 'meh' heard round the world."
Could you expect much? It hasn't been a year since the 'Bone and the Piss-Poor came out. If they had any really big cards to hand, they'd have played them last year, while they were trying to get everyone to buy the sodding things before too many people wised up.
Though, having said that, I suppose if a company is willing to attempt to switch rails mere days after a course has been stated, like what happened last year, a radical change of policy and mass suicide seems that tantalizing bit more possible. Which might as well kick this off with Microsoft then, Micro-"how-many-bits-do-we-have-to-hack-off-the-XBone-before-it-can-fit-inside-your-stony-hearts"-soft. I hear they're bringing out drivers to let the XBone controller work in Windows, but since it's functionally identical to the 360 controller, I don't see what they think that will achieve except to hand PC gaming a new trophy, like a Viking with a cup made from his enemy's skull.
But the blanket Microsoft spent this entire event hiding under was woven from some nice, comfortable, safe exclusive games. "Hey look, it's a compilation of all the Halo games, just to underline how utterly pointless a new console was! New Crackdown, 'cause the last one was absolute bubbling tossage, so the only way is up! New Fable where one player controls the monsters, because if we tried to program the AI ourselves we'd probably just fuck it up--OH WHAT DO YOU WANT?! PLEASE DON'T HIT ME, I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION THE KINECT!" But we did see some more of Sunset Overdrive, complete with wisecracking protagonist, and I can't remember ever wanting a character to choke on their own upraised bellend more. But the gameplay looked alright. Look forward to when it's released for PC, like Dead Rising 3 will be. I told you that would happen, Microsoft! Capcom gives out exclusives like a shilling whore.
Meanwhile, there's an intolerable air of smugness about Sony's announcements since they're the console front-runners. "Yeah, new IPs from the creators of Journey and Dark Souls, ain't no biggie. Oh no! I dropped a trailer for a new Suda 51 game, better bend down to pick it up--Whoops! I let everyone look up my skirt and see a remastering of Grim Fandango, tee hee!" But beyond that, what I was seeing surprisingly little of were reasons to buy a Piss-Poor. Plenty of exclusive betas like Destiny and Dead Island 2, but that just means Piss-Poor owners win the chance to have the game spoiled for them while they're at their shittiest. The Last of Us, which you can enjoy right now if you didn't immediately throw your PS3 down a flight of stairs when the new generation started. And lest we forget, Playstation Now and Playstation TV! All the fun of the games without having to let the Piss-Poor itself stink up your living room.
But things eventually returned to formula with Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Oh Sony, you tease! Now you're speaking my language; although I shouldn't hold out hope that Nathan Drake's end will go the way I'm picturing it: involving a pair of pliers, a ball gag, and a steady stream of urine.
Another thing I’m seeing is that the words “gameplay trailer” are being thrown around kind of fast and loose these days. Assassin's Creed Unity had an alleged "gameplay trailer" but it was so tightly fucking choreographed that the demonstrator might as well have been waving a fucking conductor’s baton, and in this we learned the grand scheme for four-player co-op, the innovation I was really hoping we’d get over by now. If you think gameplay that’s traditionally about stealth, timing, and precision is going to be improved by having three dangle-twats running about, then you obviously haven't been hanging around with the same human beings that I’m familiar with.
Another blatant abuser of the term "gameplay trailer" was Far Cry 4, to whom the phrase “first five minutes of gameplay” means the scripted intro sequence! Yes, isn't it marvelous what you can do with in-engine cutscenes these days? But before any actual gameplay gameplay trailers came out, the game could have been a sausage-making simulator for all we knew. Looks like they’re trying to make the Far Cry 3 lightning strike twice with the clueless white-bread hero being toyed with by colourful charismatic villain again, so let’s hope they remember to have the villain hang around for the whole game this time!
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also announced: the exciting story of how a young Lara Croft was first forged in the fires of adventure--Hang on a minute, wasn't that what the previous Tomb Raider was about? I guess they’re gonna stretch this shit like her training bra! Lara Croft is like an indecisive school-leaver. “Shut up Dad, I’ll decide what I want to do with my life after one more gap year of unrelenting horror and violence!”
Now, a large segment of EA’s presentation can be summarized with, "Here’s the latest iterations of things you’ve already got, sixty dollars please! Buy FIFA 15, sports fans; we added a new crease to David Beckham’s face. We've also added more emotions to The Sims 4, look at the gurning face of my little doll man; imagine yourselves wearing the same face as you fork out for what is essentially The Sims 3 again. Better buy all that DLC a second time as well. Pants down, fist up, pound, pound, pound!" Speaking of which, Battlefield: Hardline. It’s making a shift from regular warfare to balls-out urban warfare between cops and crims, but the trailer I saw mainly consisted of burly white heroes roughing up black guys so, y’know, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And finally, Nintendo, whose presence once again is like briefly opening the door to your granddad’s room and catching a glimpse of him still lost in his own little world, gently masturbating. It’s got Smash Bros for the general company-wide masturbation, but now it’s got Hyrule Warriors (name not final) for a more fine-tuned masturbation of the Zelda franchise specifically, just in time for the inevitable Wii U Zelda game, which I won’t dwell on 'cos we saw so little of it, although that doesn't seem to have stopped everyone else from jizzing every pair of pants they own.
Also Mario Maker, aka “Do you know how to inject life into Mario at this point, 'cause buggered if we do!” And a new IP, Splatoon, 'cause I guess they needed at least one new thing they could add to Smash Bros. Will it help the Wii U? Who knows? Not me. Who cares? Ditto mark.
I’m completely out of what energy I had for E3. It was even less enticing than last year, and last year made my bollocks roll up like a Venetian blind. So if you don’t mind, I think I’m just going to slide to the floor and hope to get smothered to death by the Roomba.
- Eloquent Engineer of Emphasis: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- That Let It Die trailer was about the most generic 'a thing with violence in it' trailer I have ever fucking seen
- Shut up, simmer down, and stop hoping