E3 reactions: Sony = remakes, Inc.

By: Ashley Rivas

Sony is a strange beast, aren’t they?  During their conference, you felt something; they’ve always been good at giving you a show, a presentation of something really cool.  Watching the show in person, you become immersed in the spectacle.  If you leave the live stream, you probably remember the singular highs for a bit, and chatter away about Grump Dad Kratos.

Then, the details start to come back.  The rest of the conference starts to filter back into your brain.  And you realize that you have almost nothing.  You’ve been given almost nothing.  They tricked you.   This is Halloween, and you went to one of the biggest houses on the block.  They’re decorated, they’re spooky, and when they open the door, they’re dressed like a Walking Dead level zombie.  They hand you one piece of “fun-size” candy, then a toothbrush.  Or a single Skittle.

That was Sony.  It was a spectacle, a show, a flash of colors and lights designed to distract you from the fact that they had almost nothing to show.  That’s why I’m filled to the brim with the saltiest salt for this press conference.  I don’t hate it, like I hate EA.  I’m not broken hearted and vengeful, like Bethesda. 

I’m bitter.  I’m bitter and jaded, because Sony lied to me.  Sony, you told me you had content, and you didn’t; you had a couple reveals and then footage that we’ve already seen, or already knew about.  Your pony tricks are exposed. 

And I. Am. Pissed.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

—Ecclesiastes 1:9



The good

Monster Hunter World
Ok, that’s kind of awesome.

I cannot deny the high moments that did show up during this conference, and there were a couple.  There really were.  I know how angry I am, I can feel it in my bones and in my blood.  But some good things did happen.

Monster Hunter World was arguably the biggest surprise and the best thing that came out of their conference.  It was spectacular.  I am not a Monster Hunter fan, but holy shit, this looked fantastic.  It’s getting the console treatment to the fullest, and it had a lot of lovely cinematic to merge with some actual game play.  Don’t get used to game play.  That won’t happen much more.

The Shadow of the Colossus HD remake is a weird thing for me.  It looks so good, but we’ve already done this.  Really, they did the same thing on the PS3.  This one is better, I really can’t argue with that; graphically, and in terms of execution, it looks great.  But releasing a remake on two consoles in a row is ridiculous.  Not a sequel, add-on, spin-off, or prequel, but a straight remake.   It starts to make me think of another game…another game that’s getting remade and ported over and over…what was that game

God of War is another series I haven’t played, but this also looked fantastic.  That grouchy Kratos is a dad with a huge fucking beard, and he’s a grump, but he’s teaching this kid.  And that’s really cool.  The cinematics were great, and they should’ve shown more game play (have I said that before), but at least there was a release date (late 2018 though, yikes).

Spiderman.  I have more to complain about than more good things to say, but let me give it some praise.  The game looks really fun.  It genuinely does.  It looks like a Spiderman game, a genuine one where you’re taking the environment and using it really well.  And teasing Miles Morales was cool.  But there’s a reason for that.  And that reason is a bad thing. 


The bad

Spiderman
Exactly what the world needed, another Superhero game. Image credit: ESA

Uncharted The Lost Legacy shows up here, but not because I hate it.  It was a good trailer, and it’s an exciting new story to add on to a really popular and beloved franchise.  What I hate is that this wasn’t news.  We already knew this was coming, and we’ve already seen content for it.  You really have to bring more to this for it to warrant a spot.  I sound like a broken record by now, but holy shit, can I have some game play with my video games, please?

Horizon: Zero Dawn’s Frozen Wilds expansion was the same for me with Uncharted.  I got incredibly tickled, then angry when I didn’t see game play.  Why?  Why do you tease me with nothing?  Why do you show me a cool game, then expect cinematics to be enough?  WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THIS IS OKAY?! 

Spiderman.  Did this game look familiar to you?  Did it look like something you’ve played before?  That’s because IT IS.  It’s the Arkham series, completely reskinned to be a Marvel game.  I keep hearing praise because it has a lot of cool environments and really great tones in terms of Spiderman, but the core of the game is another game.  This isn’t a new things; every RPG you’ve ever played has roots in another RPG, same with every genre of games ever.  But for a superhero game to take another superhero game and apply those explicit mechanics, just with a new character and setting, is disappointing.  It’s lazy.  Spiderman isn’t Batman; I don’t want to act like Batman in my Spiderman game.  He does do some cool things, like utilize wall climbs and harness the environment, but the main game play is something you’ve already done as another superhero.

Granted, when you’re Sony, and you’re hemorrhaging money because you cannot give up the Spiderman license but you can’t seem to make a decent fucking Spiderman movie lately (excluding Sam Raimi’s first two and Homecoming), I can see why you’d need to rely on a proven model for your new Spiderman video game. 

Proven models…old games being made new again…why does this all feel familiar?

Detroit: Become Human.  This game has done a complete 180 since it showed at E3 in 2016.  The game is still about androids, and their relationship with humanity; they’re treated poorly, used as disposable tools, and are reacting harshly towards humans.  But in the first version, it was some kind of crazy detective based game.  Your character takes notes of situations, analyzes things, then makes a decision.  It looked like all of the fantastic detective work of Arkham games times a bazillion, so your game was truly something unique in terms of your individual narrative.

Not so much anymore.  Now you’re an android stirring up a rebellion, which is about as old a story as possible.  They took all of these choices and cut them down to “are you bad or are you good”.  Are you a pacifist android or a hostile android?  More importantly, how much do you like quick time cutscenes?  BECEAUSE THAT’S THE WHOLE FUCKING GAME.  Was the first version too ambitious?  Was it too hard to incorporate all of those individual aspects of a game?  Who knows.  Who fucking cares.

Detroit
I, Robot in Detroit, becoming a human who dreams of electric sheep. A truly original storyline.

Destiny exclusive content.  Destiny 2 specifically.  We’ve seen enough of this, and it already had release dates, so why this?  And honestly, I think console exclusive content to a game that is cross console is quite strange.  That feels very grabby to me.  In terms of micro transactions, I’m not sure how it’ll actually work out. 

CoD WWII.  Again.  We.  Knew.  ABOUT.  THIS.  GOD DAMNIT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKERS.  What happened to that “show them something new” idea for a press conference?  Why is it recaps, or rehashing of old info?  WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR AUDIENCE, SONY?!

Holy guacamole.  I’m typing in caps a lot.  Take a breather.  I wish I could just calm down for one second, but I keep thinking of something…something in the back of my mind

FFXV Universe VR.  Square has to suck the teat of this game for as long as they can.  I have FF XV, I love FF XV, but it has a crap story and the game play leaves a lot to be desired.  I gave credit; it’s their first shot at a more western styled RPG and it does fine enough, but then I heard the “watch the movie to understand the story”.  …wait, there’s a movie?  And an anime?  And a mobile game that is Clash of Clans with a reskin?  And now a fucking VR game where I FISH!?  I’M FISHING IN FIRST PERSON?!  I wonder…is there anywehrere else I could actually fish in first person?  Probably not.  I ONLY LIVE IN WASHINGTON STATE AFTERALL.  IT’S NOT LIKE WE KNOW WHAT FISH ARE HERE.

This was my angriest moment.  This was when I almost left the room.  I thought, for one precious second, that I could do something cool in XV in VR.  I saw the logo, and shrieked at my husband: “IF I GET TO PLAY FF XV IN VR I AM GOING TO SHIT BRICKS”.  Then I saw that it was a mini game.  It’s fishing.  It’s a fishing mini game that they want top dollar for, on top of VR gear for my PlayStation.

I wanted to weep.  But more than that, my thirst for vengeance awoke.  Guess who just got added to my list, Square.

Skyrimvr
No matter how much they hype VR, you still look like a doofus playing it.

…no.  I remember now.  There was a moment that made me angrier, angrier than I had been before.  I can see it in my mind now.  And I can feel the bloodlust.

Skyrim VR.  I NEEDED TO SEE THIS AGAIN, RIGHT?!  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?  HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU HAVE TO REMAKE A GAME AND BLEED US DRY BEFORE YOU’LL STOP!?

I’m squirming as I’m typing this because I’m mad all over again.  I love this idea, I really do, but this game is 6 years old and you’ve already remastered it and announced porting it to another modern console (though the Switch one looks cool because Amiibos).  But I do have some things to say in Bethesda’s defense. 

TOO BAD THIS IS THE SONY ARTICLE, BITCHES.  Bethesda defense can wait until it’s Bethesda’s turn.  In the meantime, enjoy another round of something you’ve already seen.


The vibes

Razzledazzle
The Sony Method: nothing is actually happening here, but it looks cool. Image credit: ESA

This is the main thing Sony has going for it, like I mentioned.  They wow you with a show.  The conference started with sitar players and sand pouring from the ceiling, and glowing lights and atmospheric music made me feel like this might have been the next Tomb Raider game.  It wasn’t; it was Uncharted.  But whatever.  It was cool.

Then snow fell on the crowd for the Horizon expansion.  Again, cool.  But now it was getting a smidge old.

Then, even MORE!  Zombies hung from rafters for Days Gone.  Were they actors, or dummies?  I dunno.  But they were there, and then they weren’t.

The biggest attempt at hype was at the end, when they started loading up the excitement for the then-unrevealed Spiderman game.  It’s a PlayStation exclusive, they said.  Done by a renowned director, they said.  Something you’ve all wanted, they said.  Then…Spiderman.  Granted, this came before the success of Homecoming, so maybe it would’ve been different if the movie had come out first.  But the response was lukewarm from the crowd here, until Miles Morales showed up. 

I just feel empty after this show.  I just feel sad.  We got teases, but nothing more than that.  And I’m angry, because Sony can show us better, and we deserve more. 

Rest easy, though, because it only gets worse from here.  Wait…is that a good thing?  Oh, no, it’s not.  It’s bad.  Because EA is up next.  And we all know what that means

About The Author

I'm a big ol' nerd, and I want to effuse that nerdiness for the rest of my life. I spend as much time as I can drawing and playing video games, and I've taken that to the career level now since I'm back in school to be a game designer. I'm the mom to three puppies and a fat kitty, and the wife to a fellow nerd.

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