E3 Week 2019: My Highlights from the Square Enix Press Conference

14-06-2019 15:06

From a personal standpoint, there’s not much at this E3 that’s really got me going. At least in terms of video game announcements. Maybe I’ve become more difficult to impress in my old age… More likely, with us being on the slow buildup to the new console generation, there isn’t a whole lot of huge news out there for the current consoles and what time they have left.

Historically, I’ve never really been overly excited when it comes to the Square Enix conference. I’d like to be proven wrong this time, but if it’s going to be a bunch of pretty anime boys running around, there is only so much excitement that they can garner from an announcement that isn’t Dragon Quest.

Maybe I’m just still stinging from the Ubisoft Conference. So rather than be all doom and gloom, let’s just dig into this show:

 

Final Fantasy VII Remake

I’m being proven wrong right away. I played Final Fantasy VII back in the day, but its not the game in the franchise I hold any nostalgic reverence for. That being said, holy crap this game looks pretty.

They show some pretty extensive gameplay footage, which I appreciate a whole lot after Bethesda and Ubisoft failed to show anything real game after game. The remake looks to be primarily a third person action game now, during which time an attack bar fills up, which you can burn to pause time and enter classic turn-based JRPG menu system, using spells and items.

Just basing my feelings on what I see here, it seems like a cool system. Combined with visual powerhouse that’s obviously driving this game forward, it’s an impressive showing. It worked on me anyway, I’ve gone from having zero interest in this remake to seriously thinking about picking it up next March.

It’s interesting though. This game really looks like its being made to appeal to modern gaming sensibilities, rather than being made to directly appeal to the fans of the original game. Maybe there will be an option to purely play it as a turn based RPG, which would add further value to the game for me honestly.

Two completely different ways to play the same game. It would certainly make me think about playing it more than once.

Well done Square, you’ve managed to make me genuinely interested in the Final Fantasy VII remake. The one thing I’m not too sure about is how this game is going to release. Are they still doing it as an episodic release? Or all in one go? the messaging wasn’t super clear around that.

 

Some other stuff

We get an extended advertisement for Life is Strange 2, which is already out mind you. It features a bunch of streamers playing the game informing me which emotions I am supposed to be feeling. Thanks for that, as a cold unfeeling consumer, I need influencers to let me know which emotions I should be simulating at any given time.

Then they announce a bunch of remasters and ports including Crystal Chronicles, Octopath Traveller, The Last Remnant and a bunch of other JRPG stuff.

They also announce a new DLC for Final Fantasy XIV. Boy, people get real excited whenever MMO’s get brought up at these shows. People who like them, really like them. Which I can appreciate. I actually did try to get into FF14 too, but I bounced off big time.

I’m about to try and take another crack at ESO anyway, when my garbage internet finishes downloading the 100+ Gig needed a week from now… wait what were we talking about.

 

Dragon Quest Builders 2

This seems like the perfect Switch game. One I still shame myself for missing out on the first one. A cute combination of Dragon Quest visuals and music, combined with a Minecraft inspired world and building mechanics. Lord knows how I let the first one pass me by.

 

Outriders

A game that is prefaced by a screen that says “from the makers of Gears of War Judgement”. Yeesh. Fellas, you trying to drive us away before we’ve even seen what your game is? Either way, I came away from this one just as clueless as when I came in.

Yet another game almost exclusively shown in cinematics.  It certainly has some cool visuals going for it, looking like a loose mashup of “what if Gears of War was in a Destiny like world”. But that’s all we really get. There are people on stage talking about it, and they cut away to the studio itself to talk about it also.

But they fail to actually say anything concrete. They provide a collection of vague buzzwords about story and gameplay, but talk around the things they should really be focusing on. I feel totally over saturated with first person shooters right now (if that is indeed what this game is), what is Outriders unique hook?

Sure, you’re making a shooter and it’s probably too early to show game play, but at least tell us why we should care about your game instead of the new Halo, Call of Duty or Gears.

 

Avengers

This was a mess. Crystal Dynamics making an Avengers game has been floating around for a long time, so everyone was very eager to see what the hell this was going to end up being. And with this being their final game at their show, you’d expect them to go out with a big bang, not a wet dribble.

On stage, they show quite few cinematics for the game. An Avengers that they claim to be their own interpretation of the characters, despite the fact that visually, they are taking a huge amount of inspiration from the MCU. They even go to and sit down with a bunch of voice actors who play the main five characters within the game and further talk about the characters. As if anyone who is watching this show wouldn’t already be painfully aware of who the Avengers are.

That’s cool yeah… How about you show us what the game actually is. What’s the game play like? You’re doing an incredibly poor job of broadcasting what this game is to the world and why we should care.

With Ultimate Alliance 3 right around the corner, I’m still more interested in that game than this one, because I know what the hell it is. Based on what little they did say, it feels like they’re two games cut from the same cloth. As they’re talking about co-operative multiplayer, adding new missions and new characters to the game over time.

But I don’t feel any better informed about what this game is from before you announced it. Great job guys…

 

Overall thoughts on the Square Enix Press Conference

If you’d swapped the Avengers segment with the Final Fantasy VII remake segment, I would have probably walked away from this conference with a much more positive attitude. But there has been a running theme in these press conferences where they fail to deliver the basic information about their games.

I have seen so many cinematic trailers that come and go, and I just sit there asking “But what kind of game is it?”. It’s kind of frustrating. So far Microsoft have been the headliner by a mile in terms of clear and concise delivery of their information. Whenever they’d show a game, they’d show it.

Sometimes you need to allow the merits of your game speak for themselves, and speaking for their games was Square’s go-to move this show. I get that a lot of these are early on, but come on…

I think I let the one-two punch of Outrider and Avengers sour my experience with Square’s show. Overall, there was some good stuff in here. A lot of classic JRPGs getting remastered, ported or brought to the west for the first time ever. The FF7 remake looks fantastic and if nothing else, I need to applaud them for making me care about a game I had zero interest in beforehand.


 

Why not check out my highlights from the other shows while you’re at it:

Microsoft’s Press Conference

Bethesda’s Press Conference

Ubisoft’s Press Conference

The E3 Nintendo Direct

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