July 31, 2021

E3 2019, Day 2: The Safe Word Is “Bloat”.

I think we’ve all seen a pattern this E3.

Nothing is especially BAD – well, your tolerance for the PC Gaming Show hinged on how many inches you could take of the Epic Store buying up all the exclusives it could get its filthy little paws on, sadly I couldn’t hold out that long because Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 will have neither the Nosferatu or the Gangrel clans on launch and since they’re my two main choices this game can quite literally go to hell for the first six months of its release. But even then, most people seem to admit it wasn’t a BAD show.

It’s that these live shows are just… so… goddamned… BLOATED!

UbiSoft had so much Tom Clancey on show that it was almost as if they’d wheeled his bloated corpse on stage. SO MUCH CLANCEY. Also a mobile game featuring Sam Fisher which isn’t a Splinter Cell, and yes Splinter Cell fans. I felt your pain. I could feel a million voices cry out into the night, their hopes and dreams dashed.

Still, WatchDogs: Legion looks excellent, with assassin grannies (I’m 110% okay with assassin grannies!) and a more robust character system where you can recruit anyone in the city – I get the feeling there’s a Zombi-U/Zombi jibe in there somewhere, but I actually genuinely and unironically love Zombi-U. The politics of it are paper-thin and so obvious that it is almost embarrassing – yeah, a future hellscape London taken over by corporations in a political vacuum and then you joke about Brexit, seriously, I’d take EA’s “Nazi’s are a political statement” bull over this. But I’ve said it before – games are about more than politics, and just because people or companies have a stance it shouldn’t mean you can’t like their products. If they start banning you for a political viewpoint, then I will oppose them…

Sad we seem to have forgotten to respect other peoples political viewpoints these days.

You go get ’em, girl! Err, granny. You still got it!

Square-Enix however had the big guns.

Yes, it too was a bloated live show. It ran too long, it had some pretty “meh” announcements – I mean, I am VERY hyped for Dragon Quest Builders 2 but we’ve had so many teaser trailers for this game this year – more on the Switch, it was even a feature game in a Direct one time – that frankly that felt like wasted space. YOU SOLD US ALREADY, Square-Enix, you don’t need to spend another four or five minutes to keep hammering that in.

But Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t been AS hype for this as some people because… well… I always preferred Grandia. I know, terrible admission and all but it’s worth pointing out that my stance has always been for all the commercial successes of Final Fantasy across the series… they’ve never been ‘the best of JRPGs” (Final Fantasy 12 came very close though). Lufia, Grandia, Shadow Hearts, Dark Cloud… hell, even from Square-Enix I was all over Infinite Undiscovery, Vagrant Story and Secret of Evermore.

So when I say that Final Fantasy 7 Remake looks phenomenal, yeah. That’s something. I wasn’t expecting to say that. Tifa is… actually moderately proportioned, good job Square-Enix. The combat looks fast, with a dash of ordering your NPC allies around like Final Fantasy 12, a slow-down on charge kind of like Vagrant Story and a fluid combo-attack system that looks like it was ripped straight from Xenoblade Chronicles. All of that is a good thing by the way.

It looks amazing. I’ll admit it, I was wrong to doubt Nomura on this one. This is shaping up to be a very, very special game and if they can stick the landing, Final Fantasy 7 will ascend to Gaming Godhood alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Grand Theft Auto V.

Square-Enix even finally reverse-engineered Final Fantasy 8 for a proper remaster. People talk about the updated models – ripping models from games isn’t hard to do, but reverse-engineering the code and then spending months going through trying to fix the stuff that got lost along the way is hard work.

These collectors editions are really tempting me… I must resist…

Would I have preferred something more on Day 2? Absolutely. I mean, Final Fantasy 7 was a huge deal but we’ve seen footage before, well, not actual gameplay like last night but still. It was a known quantity.

I think the problem is that fewer companies are trying to fill out more space. They’re trying to pad out there shows to give the illusion that E3 is still an all-day thing, and I don’t know if that’s some kind of decision by marketing people who need to find a new job somewhere on The Moon or by the ESA/E3 themselves, grinning through the pain, trying to paint a picture that everything is still alright.

The general opinion so far is that this E3 is too long and too lame. Again, Sony must be having a proper laugh at all of this…

And once again, bringing up the rear on Day 3, all eyes and hopes of salvaging this years E3 show fall once more upon the shoulders of a little company called Nintendo.

Good luck Nintendo!


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