Monday, 9 June 2014

E3 2014

It's that time of year when Los Angeles, California plays host to the Electronic Entertainment Expo. A time when the giants of the gaming industry come out with the big reveals.
2013 saw the announcements that Microsoft and Sony had new consoles ready for the Christmas rush. That was a battle won by the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One is still trying to play catch-up. Though I have to admit that seeing Xbox One games still on show after six months from release seems a touch on the sad side.
On the other hand it is understandable - Activision's 'Call Of Duty: Ghosts' on the Xbox One is interrupted mid-multiplayer game by the message that the player needs to be connected to Xbox Live network. A network that is running OK - still I can play the 'Squads' matches. According to Activision's helpline I can't because if I don't have the network for one then I can't have it for the other - except that I know different. So, is there a solution? No, only silence. Still this was a problem that plagued a lot of players with 'Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2' - so nothing has changed there.
Forza 5 too has problems that, to date, have not been resolved. Badges that should be achieved do not unlock and one unlocks when the player drives a different car to the one designated ('73 Firebird Trans Am unlocks the '77 Firebird badge).

So what can Microsoft offer game wise to the disillusioned - Activision's much hyped 'Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare' will, no doubt, top the agenda. However, this is not a game that is exclusive to Xbox One nor would I be tempted to purchase it for that console - twice bitten etc.

In fact looking at the proposed lists of games that the likes of Activision, EA and Ubisoft are flag waving this year are not inspiring at all. Reality is that  it is more of the same or clones of other games. 'Watchdogs', much hyped and should have been released last November proved to be nothing more than a Grand Theft Auto style clone. 'Assassin's Creed: Black Flag' if anyone played the originals then Black Flag has been played and, I suspect, the same will apply to the soon to be revealed 'Assassin's Creed: Unity'. So, all the usual titles are on their way including another in the 'Halo' saga, 'Far Cry 4' and 'Uncharted 4' - as I say more of the same.

To my aged eyes games have sort of declined. There have been two notable re-inventions in the shape of 'Tomb Raider' which proved to be a lot better than I expected and the re-mastered version for the PS4 was even better. I would like to see a second instalment. On the other hand there was the re-invention of Dante in 'Devil May Cry: DMC' - all connection with the originals were lost and became so repetitive that I couldn't be bothered to complete it. (Believe me sales figures do not impress me).

Real games are few and far between - 'Heavy Rain', 'The Last Of Us' and 'Murder: Soul Suspect' are three that come to mind. Also 'Red Dead Redemption' (a sequel is mooted) and 'L. A. Noire'. All these games are designed to make the player work things out - not all gunplay.
And while I may not be 100% happy with multiplayer - the storylines of the 'Call Of Duty' games can be involving and 'Gears Of War 3' has to be the best game in that trilogy - so well scripted that if a pack of Kleenex is not available you will wish you had for one of the most emotional scenes I have ever seen played out on a video game. When I compare games with other players I get surprised when I find that online players seem not to play the 'campaign' storyline but have the game to play online only. So why not produce a game that gives the player the option and a cheaper multiplayer disc (like 'Titanfall' for the online gamer).

So what am I expecting from E3? Nothing - just more of the same.
I expect great graphics will figure large but the new consoles were not built for that alone.
And a game that doesn't need an app downloaded to a tablet or smartphone - even in these days of technology not everyone has these nor do they want them and kids (the prime target in the gaming world) can't afford them.

The technology behind the consoles may have moved on - the development in games has not. Well, not yet but 2015 is another year and who knows what that will bring. Will 'Drive Club' arrive? Will 'Quantum Break' make a breakthrough? The former was destined for a release to coincide with the new consoles last November - although I placed a pre-order this is now cancelled as I feel that games that are that hyped and do not get released has to have problems and may just not live up to expectations.

Anyway, next on my hit list is 'The Order:1886' looks interesting from the trailers.

Catch up with E3 online, on the Xbox One, the Playstation 4, tablet and smartphone.

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