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I was very struck by the fact that almost all of the gameplay in the trailer for The Last of Us: Part Deux could have come directly from the first game. The ritual of sneaky approaches and stealth attacks that soon falls apart into scrappy shootouts and, eventually, running for your life - it's pretty much exactly the same stuff. (Although have they added a backstep/dodge move? I think they have.) But it had me totally gripped. And it looks astounding. I don't think I've ever seen the hair on the back of somebody's neck rendered in such loving detail.

 

I watched the trailer for Ghost of Tsushima and thought it looked all right. Then I watched the trailer for Sekiro which seems to eat its lunch, combat-wise. I think I'm finally about to play The Witcher 3 so maybe that'll get me psyched for Cyberpunk.

 

Little else has caught my eye so far. I was pleased to see that there really is a new Fire Emblem coming to Switch, for when I get around to buying a Switch, but the footage in the trailer looked a little rough to me. A bit budget, compared to the lush pocket-sized 3DS experience. But I'm sure it'll be good. Probably.

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As regards to the Nintendo press conference / video, I did very little lid-flipping. Hearing an exhaustive half hour of patch notes for Smash Bros has that not-effect on me.

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I was incredibly bored during the Nintendo Smach Bros. Patch Notes, I know there's people who love getting all that info but I feel it should have been a separate video.

 

My highlights of E3 this year are TLOU2, Spider-Man, Rage 2, Resident Evil 2 remake & Shadows of Tsushima. Also quite interested in Fallout 76 from the new details revealed.

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On 6/11/2018 at 7:46 AM, eot said:

Sekiro doesn't look as visually interesting to me as From's other games.

Yeah, especially after just playing a ton of Nioh this is surprisingly uninteresting to me. I'll probably still buy & play it but it's not the instalock purchase I expect to have with From games.

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Are there any gameplay impressions of the Spider-Man game out there from people who played Spider-Man 2? People say the webslinging is manual, but it doesn't look all that manual. Not like Spider-Man 2. I want to hear from someone who has that frame of reference.

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I know that every E3 recently has deflated me, maybe it's because I'm old, cynical and burnt out on AAA. But wow, do they just not make games I am at all interested in. They all look "cool" and just fine, but I couldn't be bothered with paying or playing 99% of them.

 

Sable could be interesting, Cyberpunk could have been interesting until I heard the description of FPS and you play as a character, everything else just blended together into the same game. Even Nintendo didn't really have anything I'm looking forward to.

 

Not to say I would ever do a better job or make anything remotely interesting, but damn it, someone needs to just give me money to make a game I'd want to play.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Murdoc said:

I know that every E3 recently has deflated me, maybe it's because I'm old, cynical and burnt out on AAA. But wow, do they just not make games I am at all interested in. They all look "cool" and just fine, but I couldn't be bothered with paying or playing 99% of them.

I have the same kind of experience, mostly, except that this applies mostly to playing the games - depressingly, there's increasingly many games that I'm interested in watching someone much better than me play, than actually playing myself.

 

Edited by aoanla
emphasis

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If this doesn't make you at least slightly interested, I dunno what to tell you

 

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Excitingly, I've followed that link in the tweet and I've opened up a tiny, tiny copy of the Waypoint website the size of the original tweet, which I can't scroll

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19 hours ago, Saltimbanco said:

Are there any gameplay impressions of the Spider-Man game out there from people who played Spider-Man 2? People say the webslinging is manual, but it doesn't look all that manual. Not like Spider-Man 2. I want to hear from someone who has that frame of reference.

 

I managed to find some stuff and my suspicions have been confirmed. The game doesn't have a charge jump or ( as far as I know) a button to get extra momentum mid-swing, and wall running is automatic.

 

It does have your webs actually attach to buildings, and you control when you release the web, which seems to be what people are raving about, but that wasn't exclusive to Spider-Man 2. Other games had it and were still not very good. It's about how it all comes together.

 

It doesn't mean this game will be bad, nor necessarily worse than Spider-Man 2, but it does mean that the claims that it's returning to its roots are sadly exaggerated. I thought those mechanics were a bit too complicated for us to ever see them again in a mainstream game meant to have broad appeal like that and hoped this game would prove me wrong. That might still happen, I won't know for sure until I have it in my hands, but I'm doubting it.

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Polygonman claims the swinging IS BETTER than in Spiderman 2.

 

 

I haven't played Spiderman 2, so I have no stake in this.

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@HenkeYeah, I saw that video, then I read the written companion piece. It's where I found out that the wallrunning is automatic.

 

So while he says it's better, from his report it's also more automatic and the thing he praises it for the most was already on SM2. If it does turn out better, great, but I was really counting on it to be as manual as possible.

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On 6/14/2018 at 6:02 PM, Murdoc said:

I know that every E3 recently has deflated me, maybe it's because I'm old, cynical and burnt out on AAA. But wow, do they just not make games I am at all interested in. They all look "cool" and just fine, but I couldn't be bothered with paying or playing 99% of them.

I'm in the same boat. Trying to figure out how much it's me having outgrown these games, and how much it's the opposite, me wanting games that respect what I liked in games growing up. For example, I don't think I'll ever accept the lack of player hosted dedicated servers, level editors, user made skins, mod tools etc. in modern games as non-objectionable. That's because it's a business decision that comes at the expense of things I appreciate. The bigger issue is that most big budget games seem to be marketed at teens (or maybe people in their early 20's), and that's clearly just a problem of me getting older. Also, having played a good amount of games my tastes have probably become too specific to ever be met by AAA titles.

 

I didn't see any of the Cyberpunk coverage, but CDPR is one of the few companies I think could put out something interesting, and I have enough trust in them as a studio to develop something that isn't easily judged pre-release (and franky speaking I don't think they'll make a good shooter, so it'll have to make up for it in other places). It's really a shame that in such a huge industry they are the only ones putting out these kinds of games. After ME:A I consider BioWare lost.

 

While I'm on this negative rant, I've kind of given up on games ever evolving past their current state. I remember, about a decade or so ago, when I used to listen to the 1UP podcasts that they were always talking about how video games are a young medium, and that they will evolve in terms of storytelling. To be honest, I don't think it's a young medium any more and worse, I think it's stagnant. Sure, you can point to the work being done for example by the founders of this site, but the fundamental tension between gameplay and storytelling has only been addressed in a handful of games that I consider to be exceptions, whose methods cannot be generalised. I know lots of people love games that relax their gameplay to focus on story, but they inevitably fail to hold my attention. My strongest impression while playing Dear Esther was my middle finger hurting from holding 'W' and that's not me trying to be cheeky. On the other side you have the problem that the range of stories you can tell that involve the killing of hundreds of people is limited. I don't expect I'll live to see the day when I'll consider video games on par with books and film as a storytelling medium.

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16 hours ago, eot said:

Sure, you can point to the work being done for example by the founders of this site, but the fundamental tension between gameplay and storytelling has only been addressed in a handful of games that I consider to be exceptions, whose methods cannot be generalised.

 

I'd disagree, not lease because it's been only a console cycle since the existence of the fundamental tension between gameplay and storytelling has even been acknowledged. Games like The Walking Dead demonstrated how far you can get by just allowing players to comment on why their character may have taken an action, without any serious branching, and there's been some solid work done in the last few years in demonstrating how you allow for enough branching without creating a combinatorial explosion, by inkle and Failbetter. Just last year, Nier Automata used a extremely artificial gameplay sequence to conclude the narrative of its plot, and it worked.

 

None of that is really coming through in AAA, but that's fine - people have been predicting the death of AAA for some time as the budgets get so unsustainable that they have to turn to gambling mechanics to prop them up (except for Sony first-party studios, apparently). If AAA collapses as predicted, there's plenty of interesting games to fill the gap.

 

It's also clear that, at least for some genres, games have surpassed books and film as storytelling media - horror games effortlessly outclassed horror books and (until recently, with A24's budget approach) film, while I'd argue that very few fantasy films manage to touch fantasy games in terms of that genre's pleasures. Telling a story in a game is a lot harder, but it's a lot easier to make the audience feel fear, or present them with a world that exists on its own, when you're not shackled to a plot.

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The idea that games won't ever evolve is kind of ridiculous. You can go on itch.io right now and download 100 games that handle the "tension" between gameplay and storytelling with unrivaled aplomb. If you just watch E3 press conferences or whatever then sure, you're going to assume games aren't moving forward, but that's like listening to a pop radio station and complaining that music all sounds the same. It's because you're listening to the radio station for people who want all their music to sound the same! Go listen to some other stuff!

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@Merus While I haven't played Nier (I don't have a PC at the moment), I did play TWD and while it's not what I had in mind, it's not too far from what I meant. TWD doesn't have gameplay in the sense in which I think of it, or the degree to which it does is at least very limited. I don't say that to disparage the game, just to clarify what I mean. The tension I referred to is between gameplay systems that are mechanically engaging (this is what I meant by gameplay, which I think is different from more general interactive elements), which are almost always spatial (driving, jumping, shooting etc.), and narrative ambition. Broadly speaking, releasing that tension requires giving these system narrative meaning, but while there are instances in which this works, it's in general not possible to map a narrative idea onto such a small space of systems.

 

If you think this is a hyper specific version of the problem that I just cooked up in my own head, that's fair. However, I do see a divide between games that are mechanically enjoyable, and games that tell stories well.

 

@TychoCelchuuu I don't think games will stop evolving, and it's not seeing games from E3 that I have no desire to play that makes me pessimistic about storytelling, because most of those games aren't even trying. It's just what triggered me to think about it. If you can give me just five games that you think tackle this problem so well you don't even consider it to exist, then I'll be happy to try them.

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@eot I think you're defining gameplay far too narrowly, and in terms that not even linear narrative forms can imbue with narrative meaning without having to build the work around it. There are very few movies that make the act of driving into a narrative moment - it's almost always something the characters are doing in order to do something narratively important. Games that align their mechanics around things that can more easily support a narrative, like gaining and spending resources, unsurprisingly tend to do better at having narratives where the game mechanics help tell the story. (Then again, Nier Automata builds key narrative beats around its combat system and bullet hell minigame, but the game goes to extremes to encourage you to read metaphors into its gameplay systems.)

 

I think this is also missing one of the big design trends since... probably Arkham Asylum? where instead of a mechanic having a 1:1 match to a narrative meaning, game mechanics are used in concert to invoke a complex emotional response. Arkham Asylum is a good example because it's easy to compare how Batman's supposed to feel based on linear narratives, and how you feel as Batman when in a stealth room, but you can also look at something like Cultist Simulator, and how it makes you feel like the antagonist of a cosmic horror novel who has realised they have made a fatal mistake meddling with dark forces beyond their understanding.

 

The only thing that gives me pause here is that we've had several games where the big twist has been that what appeared to be separate narrative and gameplay elements were actually interrelated in a way that would have been clear had you expected narrative and gameplay to be working together, and it apparently hasn't stopped being novel yet.

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Yeah I'd love to play Cultist Simulator, but I haven't gotten around to it yet!

 

I had a good time splitting 4 protein bars between 7 people in The Walking Dead. I think that is gameplay, as much as it would be in a board game.

Are the decisions you make in 80 Days or Out There any less gameplay than any other games? Maybe they are, now that I write it down...

 

I've never played it, but I imagine that the timeline of how you handle your responsibilities in a systemic game like Prison Architect is a compelling story, and also a compelling game, and I imagine they mesh together fairly well.

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The protein bars thing is interesting because I agonised over anticipating future consequences and the game was far less elaborate about it than I had anticipated. If I replayed the game, I'd probably just assign the other 3 bars to the three closest people on the way to Clementine.

 

But I'd argue that the decisions you make in 80 Days are gameplay: they affect the long-term goal and your ability to make future moves.

 

(I've realised that the biggest possible indictment of E32018 I can think of is that by page 2 we're talking about gameplay in narrative-focused games instead of whatever was announced at E3)

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The games shown over the last month or so I'm most interested in are "Ooblets," "Tunic," "Sable," and "Tetris Effect." ("Overcooked 2" also looks like a solid follow-up; I'm hoping the netcode is good enough to make it an enjoyable experience. And if the GB folks, Idle Thumbs, or Steve Gaynor stream them playing through the new "Hitman 2" missions I'll watch that in a heartbeat. Not the kind of game I'm interested in playing, but I bought the first one since I got so much enjoyment watching the folks I just mentioned streaming it and will do the same with the second.)

 

"Ooblets" has elements from "Harvest Moon," "Animal Crossing," and "Pokemon," done in a distinctive visual style and charming atmosphere. I think this game has a real shot of being even more enjoyable than all the ones it's inspired by. But even if not, it'll still surely be a good time. Wonderful trailer with great music: 

 

 

"Tunic" looks like a relatively simple isometric action adventure game, but the wonderful and unique art style and gorgeous music elevate it into must-play territory for me. Again, wonderful trailer with incredible music:

 

 

"Sable" is probably the most interesting game shown off recently. Gorgeous art style inspired by Moebius and Ghibli, with the main character's animation being purposefully limited, and great lighting. It sounds like this game is all about exploration (i.e. no combat), so its overall quality will probably live or die by the quality of its narrative and how engaging that exploration/world design is. But even if the narrative isn't good, it's still such a striking and well-realized world that it'll likely be worth experiencing. Yet another wonderful trailer with great music:

 

 

And lastly "Tetris Effect." Tetsuya Mizuguchi working on an officially licensed "Tetris" game. What more needs to be said? Not just the best video game trailer I've seen in a long time, but one of the best trailers I've ever seen, period. Sure, it's just "Tetris" (with way more of an emphasis on the synergy between audio and visuals) but it's gonna be the best damn version of "Tetris" ever made. Can't wait: 

 

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