You had one job, Square Enix! This E3 was the best in years, and you needed just one more game to make it perfect. I’m done waiting for you dragging your heels and failing to commit to a “yes” or “no” on Dragon Quest VII as you leave the fans of this series out to dry. I’m through writing about it until you have something official. My blood pressure can’t take it anymore. I quit! In the meantime, I’ll play along with Nintendo’s crummy region-locking philosophies, buy an otherwise useless second Nintendo 3DS, and push through the game in Japanese because you won’t give me any other options.
Okay, now that that is out of the way… whew… happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.
The immediate difference between Square Enix’s presentation and its fellow publishers was the size of the theater, of which we didn’t even get to see. Much smaller, much more low key, much more intimate. To the loudmouth Kingdom Hearts fanboy in the back, thanks for making things awkward.
Speaking of which, Square Enix brought quite a few games and exciting announcements to share, with the largest of them obviously being Kingdom Hearts III. Tetsuya Nomura and his team have come a long way over the years to get the game looking as gorgeous as it is, and I am finally thrilled to have some new screenshots and footage to use in my articles. The swap to the Unreal Engine 4 was the right call to make. That combat footage was out of this world.
If I had a runner up for best news, I would say I’m thrilled to see Square Enix committed to bringing Star Ocean: Faithlessness and Integrity to the U.S. The series has always enjoyed moderate success in the West, so it might do so this time as well. The new use of cutscenes trying to push JRPGs away from the “interactive movie” stereotypes sounds nice, but again that combat… ouch, can someone help me find my jawbone? I think it fell through the floor.
And how about that World of Final Fantasy, eh? This ball of fluff captures the cuteness of Final Fantasy perfectly, but not with the same, awkward character art found in the Theatrhythm games. This is genuinely something I want to experience for myself. I don’t need a five-year-old sitting next to me as an excuse.
You might have already read my thoughts on the Final Fantasy VII Remake by now, but I don’t really want to think about the number “7” at the moment.
Oh, and the new Tokyo RPG Factory studio and its “Project Setsuna”… What could they possibly be, I wonder?
And of course, we had the Western stuff. Hands down, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided showed the best with its excellent storyline and top notch graphics and gunplay. I wasn’t into the previous one as much as others, but I’ll approach this sequel with an open mind. Speaking of which, I’m kind of digging the Rise of the Tomb Raider these days too, again more so than the previous game, and Crystal Dynamics’ presentation on how they are shaping Lara actually got me even more interested.
Just Cause 3 also just because it’s always fabulous and can be nothing else even if it tried.
And lastly, we have a new Hitman. All this talk about targets getting away permanently and failure being permanent sounds really frustrating to a completionist like myself. This sounds ambitious to be sure and more along the lines of what Hitman fans want, but it’s an exercise is patience I don’t think my gaming mind can handle anymore.
All in all, Square Enix had a great show. Definitely the best of the non-console developers, mostly thanks to its unique positioning in both Japan and North America. It has finally found a solid balance between the two, one which should serve it well for years to come.
I started my thoughts off a bit dark, but I realize the difficulty it takes into getting games localized and pushing them overseas. I might not have gotten the game I wanted, but with so many other options to choose from from Square Enix, I think I’ll survive and find other games to enjoy in the meantime. Yes, it still feels good to be a fan even if it isn’t always a sunny day.