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What Makes it Tick?

WHAT MAKES IT TICK?

Let’s see those gears turning

Joe Merrick

Last year I wrote about how E3 had lost some of its magic thanks to constant flood of instant content from the show floor. This year’s E3 has widely been seen as a bit of a damp squib; a filler year before new consoles arrive next year.

I have to admit, this year’s E3 has been a step up from usual, mostly thanks to a small but important step in the right direction.

Game trailers are important; very rarely have static screenshots done complete justice to how a game actually feels to play. But over the years trailers have become increasingly dishonest. It all started with the notorious “target render” disclaimer in the mid 00’s.

Although target render trailers showed, essentially, what general gameplay was like, the graphics were misleadingly good.

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Often times, a PC with super-high specs is used to render the game at the highest possible graphical fidelity. This leads to eye-catching, dazzling displays when shown at E3, but when the final game reaches punters’ consoles it can often look a lot worse in person.

More insidious, dishonest and prevalent still is the CG trailer trend. CG trailers are cinematic, spectacular and bear no resemblance to how a final game looks or plays at all. Some CG trailers are works of art, but even so, I hate them.

This year, two games bucked the trend: FFVII Remake and Shenmue 3. The little rundown of exactly how the combat system works in FFVII Remake was everything I needed to know about the game to assure me of its appeal; the hybrid action/strategy on display was enough to cement the game as a must-play, and now I’ve got an accurate idea of exactly what to expect.

Shenmue 3 is an even bigger revelation. I’m thrilled to see actual gameplay footage and hear hands-on reports confirming that the series’ unique sense of detail and pace is intact. And that combat footage looks incredible; to my eyes at least...

So then, E3 2019 has got me excited again. I have the feeling it’s going to be an incredible year to come.

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