E3 Week: My Reactions to the Square Enix Live Stream

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. I had two predictions; one of which was that a significant portions would be taken up by Kingdom Hearts III, the other was that Final Fantasy VII was going to get delayed for another couple years. I was wrong on both counts in the end. They didn’t mention the FF remake at all.

Square Enix’s press conference wasn’t a press conference at all. Instead, they decided to go down the Nintendo route and pre-record the whole thing before peacing out. I was kind of thankful for that to be honest. that meant this whole thing could be reduced down a snappy 30 minutes, and we didn’t have to take up precious seconds on awkward almost-applause. I’m probably showing my hand slightly here, but I’m not a massive fan of Square’s games. But I’m ready to be wrong at any given moment…

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Okay, I say I don’t care for Square games, but I know for a fact that I do want to try and start playing this rebooted Tomb Raider series. This isn’t the first conference to show the new Tomb Raider game, but it is the first to show us some game play. There is a lot of jungle stealth and a pretty brutal series of murders from Lara in here.

While nothing about it seems especially revolutionary, it’s fantastic to look at. There is some combination of Uncharted, the Batman: Arkham take downs and a dash of Predator on show. It’s a very cinematic looking game and the fact there is a third one coming out when I haven’t played the first two, both of which I own, makes me feel bad.

 

Final Fantasy XIV

People like this game I assume, I hear a lot of good things about it. I tried playing it once. The opening cinematic was pretty, I think I ended up playing it for two minutes after that before aggressively uninstalling it. I’ll be honest, occasionally dabbling in a single MMO is enough MMO for me. I can’t even pretend to understand nor care about what I’m seeing here.

Even the fact they’re doing a Monster Hunter World mash up and putting the Rathalos in the game in some capacity can’t bring me to want to play this. Let’s keep moving.

 

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

This is mostly the same trailer they showed at the Microsoft presentation. So I suppose head over there for my more developed views.

The one new bit of information that comes from this is that the game seems to be a story leading up to a proper Life is Strange 2, setting up the characters for that whenever it comes out. It looks nice, I did like 80% of that game, so I’d be willing to try this one out as long as the word of mouth is positive.

 

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I like the look of this game a lot. There is something about the style of these Dragon Quest games that transitions to modern hardware very well. It has a very Akira Toriyama anime art style to it, but also retains the round and bouncy look of the original pixel art when these games were on a 16-bit console.

The other thing that elevates this above the other, standard Square Enix JRPGs is that they keep their stories relatively simple.  The convolution and melodrama of Japanese writing bogs me down in these game trailers sometimes, Dragon Quest feels wholesomly simple by comparison.

Additionally, the voice acting as charming as hell. If this turns out to be anything like Dragon Quest X on the PS2, then I’m all the way behind picking up the adventures of Android #17. I just wish they’d shown more game play, I mean, I know it’s probably going to be a turn based combat system. But sometimes, just a story trailer doesn’t feel like enough.

 

Babylon’s Soul

Y’know, there is a common style and feel to a lot of Square Enix’s games that, when this started showing, I would have easily believed it was from any of their other existing properties. But no, this looks to be an original title as far as I’m aware.

This reveal trailer doesn’t give much away again, but what we do know is that this game is being developer by Platinum Games. So we’d assume that it’s a fast paced, action combat game. Anyone who gives Platinum work is doing good business in my books.

Additionally, it suggested based on imagery within the trailer that this might be a four player co-op game. Although that’s just conjecture on my part. The art style was cool, a combination of Final Fanatsy-esque designs with a Dark Souls brush ran over the top. I look forward to seeing more about what this is.

 

Octopath Traveler

This game has an amazing look. The combination of pixel art, mixed with a cool pixily 3D depth of field works to give it a real distinctive look. Not only that, the way this game is lit is stunning, almost making looks like a play being put within a diorama.

This is no new announcement, but it’s a completely original JRPG coming out of Square, and when Square stretch themselves in some new directions, they’ve made good stuff. I’m looking at Bravery Default as an example.

In addition to being a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it’ll be interesting to see more of this when it comes out. I am real flakey about JPRGs at the best of times, so waiting till I’ve seen some real hands on impressions will probably be key for me.

Japaneses developers aren’t the best at giving clear impressions of their games leading up to release. This is one of the most intriguing things coming out of Square Enix right now though in my opinion.

 

Just Cause 4

I feel guilty for admitting this, but I haven’t ever actually played a Just Cause game. They look fun. Like the final realisation of a great dicking about simulator. The sheer amount of moving parts you can play with and bang together to see what happens, I’d imagine it’s a ton of fun.

I’m still never going to play it. Don’t ask me why, I just won’t buy it. Looks cool though. It’s a big year for dynamic weather it seems.

 

The Quiet Man

Here we get another original title reveal.

It starts with a live action introduction before switching into game play action. At least, it might be game play. Aside from learning the main character is either deaf, mute or both and he kicks a lot of ass, we don’t get anything else, not even a developer.

I can’t really comment any further because they didn’t show much else. I wonder if the live action segment is going to be a part of the game or not, akin to Quantum Break (and we all know how well that went). Although it could just be a stylistic choice for the sake of the trailer. Other than the fact that this game exists, I can’t really comment any further. They’ve done a good job of piquing my interest at least.

 

Kingdom Hearts III

I already said my piece about Kingdom Hearts III when it popped up during the Microsoft conference. And truth be told, they don’t go much more into the game than they did in that prior briefing. All I know different now is that the game features a Ratatouille section and a Wreck-it-Ralph section.

Again, the story seems so overwrought with melodrama and trying to make itself feel like its dealing with far deeper issues than it actually is. I just can’t anymore. The time in my life where I would have been into this came and went.

And thus ends the show. I would have thought Square would have put a little more time into Kingdom Hearts III considering how long its taken them to make it. But that’s Japanese developers for you again.

 

My verdict on Square Enix’s 2018 E3 live stream.

It felt like a whole lot of nothing to be honest. I’ll put my hands up and admit that a lot of these games aren’t really in my wheelhouse. But with a lot of these games appearing at other briefings and a lot of Square’s productions seeming pretty interchangeable at a glance, I can see why they didn’t bother booking a stage.

I guess doing it pre-recorded meant they could get some sweet as voice work from Keith David on their video.

I like the look of Octopath Traveller, but this presentation didn’t say anything about that we didn’t already know. The same goes for Tomb Raider and Dragon Quest. These are games I am looking forward to, but this E3 time was not well spent at all to show anything new or different about them

The two new games they showed, Babylon’s Soul and The Quiet Man seemed interesting, but this were pure reveal teasers, and again didn’t show anything of substance. Taking the live audience out of your presentation means you can just leave the tape and run without having to face any awkward questions.

I kind of wish I’d saved the couple hours it took me to watch and then write this piece about Square. It hardly felt worth my time or yours. You’re a real trooper if you made it here to the end.

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