Well well well, I guess I donít have to tell you what the hot topic was today, do I now? Whatís that Strider, you think you got a lot of PS4 blogs? Oh you ignorant fool, feast your eyes on these caps! In fact, because of the amount (and ratio, for that matter) of PS4-related blogs today, I have a little surprise for all of you! Yeppers. Itís in the Recap section, check it out!
So how about that PlayStation 4 you guys? Howís it looking? If Iím going to be honest, I didnít see a whole lot to impress me yesterday. I donít own a PS3 myself, and the thing is that I donít feel like Iím missing much. Every once in a while a cool-looking exclusive comes around that I really wish I would be able to play, but other than that the consoleís value is lost on me. Port Shadow of the Colossus, Ni No Kuni and Journey over to another console, and I donít need a PS3 ever again. I literally just went through the Wikipedia list of PS3 exclusives, and those are all I could come up with, give or take Ratchet & Clank, and I even had to add Ni No Kuni myself because it technically isnít exclusive.
But then, today is not a day of threes, today is for four! Like I said, however, I remain largely unimpressed. There is some cool stuff, but nothing cool enough that I would pay big bucks for it. The controller could be interesting since itís got Move built into it, but to me it still sounds too much like the old PS3 controller which also tried to incorporate motion control, but felt flat. Case in point, Lair. The cross-play functionality with the Vita also has potential, but no more so than the WiiU already has built in. I just donít see why people would be excited about this function despite the fact that itís going to be expensive as fuck, whereas the WiiU just sort of has it already. As a self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine; it seems that some people like to harp on everything Nintendo does until either Sony or Microsoft does the exact same thing; then itís awesome. We saw the same with Move and Kinect (until especially the latter fell flat on its face) and Iíve seen some of that now too. Fortunately I havenít seen much of that on Destructoid yet, so you guys still rule. Letís see, what else is there to talk about? Thereís cloud gaming, I guess, but I have yet to really see the added value of that; and then thereís the social aspect, which is also mostly lost on me. Not that it isnít a nice feature, mind you, just that I personally wouldnít benefit from it very much.
Now if only I had friends who cared
What else? Oh, wait! I forgot to mention the graphics, didnít I?! TheyíreÖgood, I guess? I donít really know to be honest. I didnít even plan on discussing it after all that other stuff, I legitimately forgot about that up until now. It just goes to show that graphics donít do anything for me. Hire a good art director, and all of your pretty polygons have become meaningless. See Mario Galaxy, Okami, Metroid Prime, Skyward Sword, Muramasa and many more. Actually, many of you may not recall this, but my very first blog on the Ďtoid was about this very topic! Yep, true facts! Maybe I should revisit it sometime, because thereís probably much more to say about this than I did in that particular blog. Itís a good thing that I donít keep a list of Cblog topics which is already up to six or seven by now, and donít have to write a good three papers at the same time for my studies. No sirree, none of that here. All the time in the world to revisit old blogs!
Anyhow, it should be clear by now that Iím not a person who is easily impressed with graphical power, so Sony does not have to count on my money for just that.
Ö.And then came David Cage.
For David Cage to basically claim that emotion in video games can be measured in polygons hurts me to my very core. Cage once again seems to completely misunderstand the industry he works in. I guess he never played To The Moon, or Donít Look Back, or suteF, or LIMBO, or Final Fantasy VI, or Tower of Heaven, or Digital: A Love Story, or 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, or The Walking Dead, or Journey, or The Void, or Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, orÖ.Oh, Iím sorry, do I need to go on? Using pure graphical power to evoke an emotion from the player is the lazy manís way of storytelling, and then for someone to claim itís actually the only way is just awful. Cage makes the comparison with movies, saying that they too have only been able to truly convey emotions after the tech improved. His argument falls apart, however, in that he compares old silent movies to the movies we see today, a 70-year gap at least, whereas weíre now facing the transition from PS3 to PS4. Hardly the same scope if you ask me. But more so than that, Cage forgets that visuals and high definition donít make a movie. Iíll show you what I mean. My all-time favorite movie moment is from the end of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: ďMy friends. You bow to no one.Ē Gets me every single time. Here it is:
The thing is, though, this scene doesnít work because itís in HD or whatever. It doesnít work because of Aragornís expression (although that does help), and certainly not from being able to tell exactly how many hairs are in his beard. This scene works because after all is said and done, the newly crowned king of mankind, his Elven wife who just so happens to be the granddaughter of the Elven Queen, representatives from all the major races on Middle-Earth and an entire plaza full of people, all bow to four little guys with hairy feet. The very idea of this scene is what makes it so powerful, and it did not require anything beyond movement (and a boatload of actors).
This shot is what makes it. This shot and nothing else.
Now to be fair, while David Cage has really missed the point about storytelling in video games, Old Man Demo is not half as appalling as Kara was; all that was, while dressed up nicely as a story about androids and stuff, was David Cage showing us a video of a woman begging someone not to kill her and going ďYou see? Emotions!Ē. The sad thing is that Kara used a setting that is so ingrained into our very beings that it would almost be impossible not to feel emotion, no matter what medium it wouldíve been on. You could have made Kara using 8-bit sprites and it wouldíve worked. Hell, you could have cut the visuals entirely and just present the audio, and it wouldíve worked. Iím serious, try it! Hell, at one point she screams the line ďBut Iíve only just been born, you canít kill me yet!Ē Yeah. For all of Cageís talk about subtlety, there was none to be had in Kara. Using graphics to evoke emotion my ass. Luckily, Old Man Demo didnít have any of that, and his expressions were indeed pretty good, but if the philosophy is really that better graphics make better games, then Iím out.
Goddamn, I guess thereís a blog topic in here as well, isnít there? Thatís going to have to be added to the entirely non-existent list.
But I was talking about the PS4. For all my harping on the thing, there were still some cool announcements. The Oddworld developers creating a new game was nice, Knack looked interesting, there seem to be a boatload of third party developers making something for the new console, and above all the option for indies to self-publish was a good move on Sonyís part. Despite this, unfortunately for Sony, in the end yesterday gave me only one announcement that I got truly excited over, only one thing that made me go ďWow, thatís awesome!Ē: Watch_Dogs coming to WiiU. That has me more excited than anything Iíve seen about the PS4, and on Sonyís day, thatís a little sad.