Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again! The Electronic Entertainment Expo (Or E3 for short) is going live in L.A. and once again I’m not in town to see it. But fortunately, this great little invention called the internet has given me access to the sites and attractions of this always-awaited occasion. While I haven’t seen much of it due to time differences and the abysmal internet connections Lebanon is synonymous with, I managed to catch a good chunk of Microsoft’s show last night and here’s what I think of that and whatever else I saw.
I’ll be straight-up: Microsoft did a pretty decent job from what I saw, correcting the mistakes they made during the Xbox One’s otherwise abysmal reveal by showcasing their newest creation for what it is-a video game console. Titles such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Titanfall, and (big surprise) Call of Duty: Ghosts were displayed and demonstrated to very good effect. I was very impressed with the visuals and the smoothness at which the Xbox played these demos, momentarily allowing me to forget that Microsoft wanted to turn their prodigious wonderbox into a Tivo that plays games.
The games themselves are worth mentioning on their own. For starters Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looks to be a huge improvement over previous titles in the series, overall-even surpassing the fantastically ginormous (though I still haven’t completed it) Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots. I couldn’t help but be skeptical at some things, though-for starters, this isn’t going to be a PS-exclusive title, but what really worried me was the casting of Kiefer Sutherland of 24 fame into the role of Snake, as opposed to the iconic David Hayter. Moving on, Ryse: Son of Rome looked amazing: the trailer was set during the Romans’ campaigns against the barbarians with the player assuming the mantle of who i thought was Julius Caeser or one of his disciples given the quote at the beginning of the gameplay demo (“The valiant taste death but once…”). Titanfall and COD: Ghosts will be covered together since they were essentially very similar to me, but the former looks to have my money sooner (Respawn, the studio behind Titanfall, is actually made up of ex-Infinity Ward Employees). Even though it’s basically COD with mechs and other perks, it still has a lot of potential to be something great. Ghosts also deserves some form of honorable mention, despite it being another Call of Duty game. It looks even darker than other installments and allows the player to take control of a lovable attack dog, as well as singlehandedly sinking a submarine.
Speaking of honorable mentions: even though I’m sure it was showcased more at the Sony show (which I still haven’t seen much of), Bungie’s new project Destiny looks f*cking beautiful. I’ll discuss it in further detail when I finally watch the gameplay trailer, but this is a game I’m very much looking forward to. However, I’m most probably going to get it on the Playstation 4 for reasons I’m going to get into shortly.
The last piece of media that I’m going to discuss is something that got me giddy and worried at the same time: the trailer for the next Halo installment. It’s no secret that I adore Halo and that after the Nintendo classics such as Zelda, Metroid, and Mario, it’s one of my favorite video game series. The trailer was short and furtive but I was still excited to see it played out in all its beautiful detail. I was further giddy at the even darker direction 343 was taking Halo this time, but at the same time the trailer had me a little worried at how it was being played out. What really concerned me was at how soon this trailer was being released: Halo 4 hasn’t even been out for a year and yet the next chapter’s been announced, but I trust Frank O’Connor and co.’s judgement on the matter.
Now, this all makes a sound and convincing argument to run to the store and pre-order an Xbox One, right? Well, here’s where it starts to fall apart for me: for one, the price tag-the Xbox One is set to hit stores come November at a bewildering $500, a record high as far as console prices go. The PS4, by contrast, is set to release at $400, and it should be about as powerful as the Xbox One (but the price is somewhat understandable given the specs of the machine). Add to that the whole controversy surrounding used games and constant internet connectivity required (the PS4, by contrast, does not require this connectivity, has free online play, and doesn’t have that block on pre-played games!), plus the Kinect’s always being activated and watching your every move and word whilst in the living room, you get a good argument against.
So what’s the verdict? While Microsoft certainly did save face at E3 yesterday and did display the potential and power of the Xbox One, it was simply not enough to silence the skeptics and tone down the controversy, at least on my end. Sony’s very straightforward jab at Microsoft’s muck-ups put them in the corner and allowed Sony to go in for the clinch, and while Microsoft put up a good fight, it looks like Sony’s going to win this bout. So when asked the question of what console I’ll get next, here’s my answer: I’ll get an Xbox One, but only for Halo and a few other titles, and that’s when the price for it drops; otherwise Sony has my money this time, and I actually look forward to watching and discussing Sony’s offerings.
Y’all take care now
The Witcher 3