Unless you have been living under a rock you undoubtedly have heard the news that the rumored PlayStation Neo is real and is in fact called the PlayStation 4 Pro. This “new” console (if you can even call it new. I’m not even sure what new means in this generation anymore) will support true 4K specs and will naturally allow for developers to make some better looking games. Should you be excited? My response is no. In fact hell no. You should be skeptical that this will lead to any innovation in the industry.
I am of the opinion that better graphics do not make for better games. Games are truly great when their gameplay or stories or both are compelling and engaging. When you look at gaming that way graphics are not that important in the overall scheme of things. Take a look at Shovel Knight, Cave Story, The Binding of Isaac, Axiom Verge these Indie games do not have realistic boundary pushing graphics but are wildly fun to play. They are also very successful, popular and have been released somewhat recently. It’s really difficult to gauge what Sony and Microsoft, with their Scorpio, see in this generation of gaming. It’s clear that they no longer believe in the somewhat dated, yet functional process, of having a dedicated games console for 4-7 years and then replacing it with something new and hopefully stronger. The benefit to this has always been that the first 2 years will be the growing pains cycle where developers will usually not release anything worth while they try to figure out the console’s advantages and disadvantages. More often you get games that don’t look to nice, function a little obtusely or just don’t age that well. However the upside was that once that period was over you had access to better games. Games that made you wanna buy them and have a blast playing. Once that happens that’s when I consider a gaming generation to have truly begun. For example, for me that did not start until I finally played Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Once I finished it I felt that I had truly come in to this current generation.
Of course with the Scorpio and PlayStation Pro looming I can’t help but feel there is no reason for these consoles to exist so damn early. Look 4K looks amazing. It really does. But to apply it to gaming now would be a mistake in my opinion. All it will succeed in doing is making games much more expensive to produce. This will in turn make publishers more conservative when it comes to the types of games they make. So don’t be surprised if everything that ends up being made is a shooter of some sort. It’s the genre that is arguably the most popular currently. So any new IP that could be made will just follow the path of genre stagnation. Now I’m not trying to jump on an anti shooter bandwagon but come on. So many games now are shooters and even more are first person. Trying to appeal to as many people to recoup the cost of development is not necessarily a good thing. Do you really want to be in a world where Uncharted 4 gets another re-release in the same generation? That’s what could happen. Games just released will get re-releases to take advantage of 4K.
It’s pretty obvious that both Sony and Microsoft are looking now to compete with PC’s in terms of raw power and processing. This is not a smart strategy at all. Why? Because no matter what gaming box Sony or Microsoft make it’s ultimately going to be outdated by the tech advancements of tomorrow and I do mean that quite literally. Like how as soon as you buy a computer within a week it’s already technically outdated. When you are competing with a platform whose parts are constantly evolving you are forgetting the key concept of having a dedicated gaming platform. GAMES. PC’s are our gateway to the internet, our business tools, things students use to write papers or thesis'(sometimes even pirate), a communication tool to loved ones, a device to process high amounts of information at high speeds and yeah it can play games too. PC’s have to be constantly updated because the world demands that of them. Their upgrades dictate the software that we use. Not our games. To apply this logic to game consoles pretty much means you want to nickel and dime the consumer or market yourselves to a very small group who have the expendable income to buy all the things needed to take advantage of these upgrades. Not to mention that the games made will be compatible across all the “weaker” consoles too. But for how long? Even games made on PC’s stop supporting certain video cards after a while so what does this mean for the PS4 Pro and Scorpio? Seem stupid yet?
There is a lot to dislike about this. But at least the PlayStation 4 Pro will be able to play those 4K movies right? Nah apparently it won’t but the Xbox One S can? Boy I sure do miss gaming from my childhood.
I think the word “Yup” perfectly captures my reactions to Sony’s E3 conference. It’s rather difficult for me to really elaborate with more than just a stoic, resounding “Yup”. What I mean is that nothing really stood out to make me lose my shit or run around all excited like I was 6 years old again and thankfully, nothing pissed me off either (like Microsoft). There were a few games that I am looking forward to and interestingly enough a couple surprises too. So I think I’ll list off what I am looking forward to from the conference and then offer some thoughts about the presentation.
- God of War
I have played all the God of War games to date. What I can say is that Kratos is a damn moron who is so completely unlikable. Yet his games are really cool. I love the fast fluid combat and the feeling of being an overpowered dumb piece of shit who seems to think his vengeance is justified (Ya did it to yourself Kratos. You really did. No one forced you to kick down a door to some house and swing with reckless abandon) So with this game I am eager to see where they take this character and to see if he is still a dumb piece of shit (I’m willing to bet he probably is).
- Horizon Zero Dawn
Last year I saw this game get announced and I believe it had a small trailer. Well this year we got more of a look at it. It seems really interesting but a bit redundant. It’s essentially a 3rd person shooter/adventure with scavenging added. We have played this game before. However, I am still interested in the main character Aloy. There are not enough female leads in games and this is a very refreshing take on a tried and true gameplay style. So I’m very invested in finding out who Aloy is and what her story turns out to be.
- Resident Evil 7
After the shit-show that was apparently Resident Evil 6 (I have yet to play it but I have not heard good things), RE7 was the last thing I expected to see. Naturally as a fan of the series I am excited…but to be honest I’m not too impressed with what I saw. It’s in 1st person with seemingly nothing to do with any of the old cast. Personally I’m waiting for the return of cool guy BILLY COEN. But sadly that probably will never happen. Anyway the game so far seems like Capcom looked at PT when it was alive, saw Konami grind it into dust and then went…”Well we can do that can’t we?”
- Final Fantasy XV
I love Final Fantasy. I grew up with the series. Currently I am replaying Final Fantasy VIII because of how much I enjoyed it when I was young. XV on the other hand looks really dumb and obnoxious. Also why is every playable character male? It should be called sausage fest XV. But whatever. I’ll reserve judgement for when it comes out and I play it. I just hope I enjoy it more than XIII. I still have nightmares about that game. I fucking hate Snow. Holy shit does he just ruin the game. OH FFXV also is supporting PlayStation VR. More on that in a bit.
- The Crash Bandicoot remakes
Yeah this was announced. I was kind of excited and then I got a little worried since Crash is technically still owned by Activision so who the hell knows how that is gonna turn out. But I was excited for about 3 seconds there Sony. Hoh shit was I.
- The Last Guardian
My only reaction was “oh shit it’s still real!”. Here’s hoping the game lives up to the hype surrounding it.
- Death Stranding
IT’S HIDEO KOJIMA’S NEW GAME HOLY SHIT! I’m happy for him I really am. He’s one of my favorite game designers and Metal Gear inspired this here site of mine so yeah I’m so excited for Kojima-senpai! I just wish he could have told us more about the game beyond the name and that we could have seen more than Norman Reedus’ ass. It looks better then Danny DeVito ass, so that’s a plus I guess. That’s about it.
Sony let their vast showcase of games impress everyone. They didn’t even mention the Neo. Probably because they had a feeling that it would slap early adopters in the face, like Microsoft did. Funny how lately all Sony has to do to succeed is go the EXACT opposite way of Microsoft. However if there was one thing I did not enjoy about the presentation it was the segment on VR. I am a VR skeptic. I don’t care how many games you put on the damn thing because if it’s $400 for a friggen helmet in addition to the cost of the console I’m looking at a total investment of anywhere from $700-$800 dollars. Plus when the PlayStation Neo comes out it’ll probably be more expensive as a console so the overall investment for PlayStation VR comes in pretty close to $1000. No way in hell am I spending that. Whatever. Look VR seems to be the thing that the tech industry is forcing down our throats. It’s gonna be everywhere so for now I get to be an enraged Media Scholar as I look for a cane to wave in the air while I act bitter like an old man complaining about new tech sucking us dry. I will end this by saying for all my complaining Sony has convinced me to want a PlayStation 4 so hopefully sometime soon I can pick one up. I need to play Persona 5 when that drops. I would have mentioned it but it was not in the conference so yeah.