So.. Who Won E3 2016?

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Another year of E3, another year of big news and announcements of the latest upcoming games coming in the future. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is usually defined as the main event to showcase games to the press and now to the public, either as attendees or via online coverage of streams and videos.

The main eye-catcher of E3 now are on those press conferences, where publishers are setting up grand shows to hype the crowd- both the press and the general gamers – in spectacle.

With Square-Enix opting out from hosting a press conference event and instead share details of their games directly on the show floor, the remaining six in the contest of spectacle are, in order of their time slot, EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, the PC Gaming Show, Ubisoft, Sony and technically Nintendo. So let’s try and answer the arbitrary question of who won E3 as an excuse of highlighting the highs-and-lows of each press conference.

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The “Resident Evil 7 Isn’t Resident Evil” Argument

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E3 2016 is interesting. Despite its size slowly going down- folks attending the show has reported to have good mobile reception and wider walking space, something not seen during the peak of the events- the quality of games being shown, surprise announcements of new games and sequels kept the show being something exciting to those that are paying attention to it.

One of the ballsiest move was seen at Sony’s excellent E3 press conference, after announcing the Playstation VR’s price and release window, a VR game was shown.

Turns out that The Kitchen VR demo Capcom showed last year was actually going to be released on January next year. This creepy-looking first-person game’s name?

Resident Evil 7.

Some went screaming in joy, while most RE fans cry out:” This isn’t a Resident Evil game!”

This situation, of fans calling a certain entry of a game series not worthy of its name, has happened before. Let’s discuss the issues revolving around this conundrum

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Balancing The Imbalance Of Overwatch

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There’s one neat thing that Blizzard’s new shooter Overwatch did astonishingly well: the balance of the 21 heroes. The trick here is that they made all the heroes to be situationally powerful, sometimes to the point of people yelling OP and nerf, yet there are situations that these seemingly OP characters can get trumped, hard.

Interestingly, the balance of Overwatch comes from its imbalance. Something you won’t see in normal FPS games, where you would expect all the variations of playstyles to be viable on its own. But Overwatch focuses a lot on team play, team composition, and counter picking heroes that the imbalance is on purpose. Your individual heroes have its weaknesses and strengths where it shines most. A good team can complement each other by helping a certain hero shines more and mitigate the weaknesses it has.

But how do you balance a game about hero imbalance like Overwatch? Recently, Blizzard spoke about considering some nerfs for McCree. Although balancing issues were done a lot in the closed beta, now that the game is out some people just like it the way it is, while others still clamouring for Bastion nerfs, or even its outright removal.

But first, let’s talk about the beauty of the balancing.

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A Little Bit Of Polish Goes A Long Way

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The power of polish: How a concise, perfectly executed game with limited scope score well with critics and the average gamer.

Uncharted 4 has finally released and it is now lauded with many positive reviews (except for that one review on Metacritic) from critics and everyday gamers alike. Just look at the accolades poster they made for all the warm reception they are having.

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And they deserve it. While I have yet to touch the game (and trying hard to avoid spoilers) just from a few footage that was released as promotional material for both single player and multiplayer stuff, it is perfect. Not many critical flaws in gameplay were pointed out.

But then again, if you’ve played some of the previous games, you can see what essentially is a formulaic third-person action-adventure shooter with some platforming, set pieces and small  diversions here and there. It isn’t groundbreaking as say, Gears of War, that redefine how a cover system should work and the active reload system that added some dynamics to reloading a gun.

However, just look at the graphics and sound design. Look at how elegant the control feels. If played as how the developers intended, it just feels good.

That is the power of polish.

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How Much Would You Pay For Games?

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Playing video games is an expensive hobby. Game consoles have dropped in price over the years, with a PS4 bundle currently is cheaper than the latest iPhones or flagship Android phones. Isn’t that exciting? Compared to the days where buying a PS2 on launch costs RM2000 and a PS3 was at an absurd RM4000 price tag, now more people can share the same hobby and passion!

Yet game prices are steadily increase in price, and some games are harder to justify a full RM200+, only to have not as many features as expected, content gated in the form of DLC, really fancy collector’s edition, and sometimes, broken, bug-ridden or even missing features on launch.

So there lies the question: in the dire economic state Malaysia is suffering through, how much would you be willing to pay for games?

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PS Plus: Too Many Bad Games, Or Just Too Many Indies?

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Recently, I tried my hand on doing some reviews on PS Plus games for PS Asia’s Junior Reporter competition. I needed to practice writing some reviews before committing on doing one for a site (which is on a PC city-builder Banished, published on GamerMalaya). For all the while, I noticed plenty of irksome comments on the Facebook page, regarding the list of *free games available for the month. (*Free as long as you subscribe, that is, for only RM120 a year)

After doing some digging, including traversing into the depths known as the YouTube comments, it is clear that there are very vocal voices out there concerning the unsatisfying lineup. Plenty of displeased PS Plus subscribers out there.

But here’s a question. Why are they not happy in the first place? Are the games offered for free terrible? Or is it just not suited to the taste of many? There are plenty of indie titles being offered for free.

Too Many Bad Games? Or Just Too Many Indies?

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