I wanted to see a new Zelda or a remake of an old Zelda. I wanted to see Ghost Trick 2 or another quirky game in a similar vein. I wanted to see a sequel to Red Dead Redemption. I wanted to see Theme Hospital rise from the ashes as a new project. I wanted to see a new RPG similar to how Dragon Age blew us away a few years back.
I wanted to see something creative, outside the box, and unexpected.
But mostly I really just wanted E3 to contain something I could look forward to. This year’s event seemed old and stale, its actual emphasis more on the living room than video games themselves. Almost everything was already covered, months prior, and none of it looked that interesting. Games I wanted to be excited for troubled me, like Beyond (Heavy Rain was too much of a narrative experience–will Beyond be the same?) and Sim City (the deluxe edition versus standard edition bonuses scare me–will it be just like The Sims 3 and have too much emphasis on expansions and the in-game store?). The Last of Us was the only game I could truly say I was excited for that got significant time at the conference’s press events and that’s largely because I think it will say something new in a genre as overdone as the zombie genre is.
Oh, and Watch Dogs looked interesting I guess.
I still have games I’m looking forward to, like Torchlight 2 or CS:GO or Grand Theft Auto V or Borderlands 2. And I still have Resident Evil 6, which I’ll probably enjoy because I like Leon S. Kennedy a whole bunch. Gaming isn’t dead to me, but maybe large scale press events are–the hype machine certainly is.
It just seems to me like Nintendo and other studios are missing the mark. Nintendo could make a killing with the Zelda franchise if they returned to its roots, but instead we got the third Super Mario remake in the past year. There could have been a new Pokémon announcement that strayed from its template of city to city, gym badge to gym badge, but there wasn’t and there probably won’t be.
And while everyone digs the idea of playing Elder Scrolls with their BFF, perhaps a MMORPG isn’t the solution–I can’t be the only one who thinks Elder Scrolls look generic and tired as a MMO, especially when compared to Skyrim. In fact, maybe co-op in the Skyrim expansion could have gotten our feet wet instead of this MMO business.
Oh well. We’ll see what happens. For now I’ve got League of Legends to play and the Civilization V expansion coming out this month to look forward to. That will have to do.
I kind of hate myself for saying this, but I don’t love Diablo 3.
I mean, I like it. The game is fun. If I gave a review, I’d say that it was worth the wait. I’d say it was a solid 9/10 experience. I’d put some good adjectives to describe my emotions when I looted my first legendary. And the weekend I spent with it, the twenty hour marathon on release I achieved–well, that was fun and memorable enough.
But for whatever reason, D3 didn’t have staying power with me. Ultimately, as I neared the end of Nightmare mode, I lost sight of my will to log back into the game.
It all came down to loot. The loot isn’t as fun as it was in Diablo 2. The system wasn’t as addicting. It felt more spread out than most ARPGs and a lot less satisfying. In addition to scarcity of drops, the legendaries and rares I got were always outclassed by the blues I’d already equipped. This ended up taking a lot of fun out of the never-ending search for loot. There was little incentive to keep grinding because I couldn’t catch a break with the RNG Gods. And because I was so unlucky with gear, I got pushed against a wall during my co-op sessions: mobs grew harder when a friend would join my game, but my Wizard did half the damage she was supposed to, so it was frustrating and I got regulated into a CC bot.
I know I could always keep powering through it. I could turn to the auction house. I could struggle through Hell difficulty, hoping to get my big payout. I could master my Wizard. But I didn’t really want to after a certain point. The break in loot led to a break in the Diablo 3 experience and I saw the game for what it was: an endless and somewhat pointless quest for epics. It’s not really Blizzard’s fault, though some blogs have been quick to analyze D3’s loot–it’s more of my fault.
I mean, I play ARPGs to smash faces and loot a lot of things.
And unfortunately, when neither happen in large quantities, I get bored. But hey, that’s the genre for you–right?
Usually when I go back and play a game from my childhood, it’s nothing like I remembered. The vast forests of The Legend of Zelda and the hordes of zombies from the original Resident Evil don’t really match up to what my young mind imagined them to be.
But there’s always an exception to the rule.
In this case, it’s Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital. Theme Hospital pretty much everything I remembered when I played it at age ten in 1997, off-beat British humor included. It’s easy to play, incredibly hard to master, and very unforgiving. As a hospital director, you run a quirky hospital full of faux diseases and managerial woes. You hire nurses, doctors, receptionists, and handymen with a wide array of personality disorders and demands. You fend off VIPs from touring your hospital, fight epidemics, and handle emergencies with aplomb. You worry about machinees breaking down, researching new cures, and sweeping the tiled corridors–all the while keeping the fiscal year and its deplorable budget in your head.