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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews E3 2016.

Transcript Edit

Here is a joke that I just made up: what's the difference between E3 and a pen full of excited pigs fighting over the stinking corpse of a sheep? Microphones! In all seriousness though, while I must again dutifully walk up to the pig pen and ready my castrating shears, it's looking like most of the pigs already curled up and nibbled their own balls off. There was something very half-hearted about the show this year. It's almost like publishers have realized that they could make all their announcements on the back of a used envelope at midnight on remembrance Sunday and the exciteful little spurt burglars of the internet will still start ejaculating out of their eyeballs. 

Nintendo stopped physically showing up to the annual swimsuit contest years ago, preferring to send prerecorded videos like an ISIS execution squad. And this year they could barely summon the effort to do that with just a livestream that very conspicuously didn't mention the upcoming NX console but made it about the games or, in real terms, game. Yes, stand thy frotting nostrils, ye predictable fanboy sod. The Wii U's finally getting that fucking Zelda game you want so much, although it is going to have to share it with the NX which at this point could be anything from an upgraded Wii U to a dancing bear in a fez. 

Sony also absentmindedly failed to bring up the rumored PlayStation 4.5, and if I were them I'd at least have given it a fancy codename like "Project Buttery Thighs" just so we could call it something less tedious. Otherwise a few updates on things we already knew about: PlayStation VR, a real, no crossed fingers-backsies release date for Last Guardian which will now have to come free with a clone of Jesus to live up to the wait, and the corpse of Silent Hills has emitted a couple of unexpected farts.  

Kojima Productions announced something called Death Stranding, with the emphasis on thing: a "let's childishly call it a proof of concept" which proves very little, except the Kojima shouldn't watch so many music videos.

And then there's Resident Evil 7, which has boldly lept into Silent Hills' smoking shoes with the new and yet hauntingly familiar playable teaser in a first-person spooky house. A style shift worked wonders for Resident Evil 4, but this is a shift so radical that even calling it Resident Evil borders on duplicitous, except for the fact that game is now literally about an evil residence. Still, what else could they do? Follow on from Resident Evil 6? That'd be like trying to serve dessert after the main course consisted of filet of asbestos in dogshit. 

Out of the big lads in the playground, Microsoft was the only one still turning in its schoolwork. But with pimping the Xbone cellulite-covered ass officially written off as a lost cause, we're being introduced to two younger, hotter sisters: the slim-line One S, where the S presumably stands for "stick it up your bum", and a slightly upgraded model called Project Scorpio. If you're going with the zodiac names, Microsoft, then personally I would have gone with cancer. What's with all these announcements for not quite next generation updated consoles? Is the big idea to turn this into the smartphone industry, where we buy a new one every two years cause they slightly up'ed the resolution and smoothed another corner off? I'm not going to do that, assholes, cause I don't keep my smartphone in a nest of cables under the TV that I'm loathed to venture into without a native guide and a week's provisions. 

On the other hand, Microsoft have also declared that Xbone games will be playable through Windows 10 and the console may even get mouse and keyboard support, which indicates that Microsoft's plan may be to become a developer of gaming PCs so gradually that nobody notices. 

Getting back to the subject of VR, I still think that it's a way forward, but the push towards it is starting to remind me towards the push of motion controls and that makes me uneasy, like my preferred political candidate got endorsed by Hitler. I do wish they'd stop trying to pair VR with motion controls cause that part never ends. You can buy hand puppet controllers and a treadmill and force feedback vests until your living room has more wires running through it than a foreign embassy in Moscow. And then you'll realize you can't smell the ingame gore, so you hire beautiful Filipino boys to slaughter chickens under your nose, and it still won't be as immersive as a standard button controller that you barely have to think about. And I don't think there's any reason that games should be exclusive to VR cause I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd want to play it but don't want to take a break every two hours for a nice, cleansing puke. 

Anyway, that Star Trek bridge operations game intrigued me in a slightly shameful dad's train set sort of way. But of all the generations of Star Trek we could pretend to be in, we're stuck with reboot Trek? That's like inviting the Spice Girls to an orgy and only Sporty Spice shows up. 

Speaking of dad games, what's with God of War turning into The Last of Us? Kratos is hefting his massive new beard around, teaching his moist son how to hunt. All I could think about as I watched him slowly trudge through pretty environments having Sony-branded character building moments and being a bad dad was the start of the original God of War in which Kratos was in a room full of monsters, yelled "Monster are a thing that I kill!" and that was it, straight into gameplay to start bouncing them around like kittens in the candy floss machine. These first five minutes of gameplay videos don't count for a whole lot if those five minutes are wholly unrepresentative of the rest of the game. I mean we all know damn well that kid's not gonna survive past the second act cause it wouldn't be a God of War game if Kratos wasn't using deicide as impromptu bereavement counceling. 

Right, what else? Did someone trip over the wires that were making Sonytron 3000 remember that zombies are completely overdone? Cause that's the only explanation I can think of for Days Gone, whose principle selling point seems to be "It is a zombie sandbox", apparently unaware that Dead Rising 4 and State of Decay 2 were doing shots in the next room. Christ, it's not even the first zombie sandbox with the word 'Day' in the fucking title. 

Relatedly, Ubisoft continues to scream the word 'sandbox' every time someone enters the room like a malfunctioning Furby, despite Assassin's Creed having been let off the milking machine for a quick stagger around the meadow. WATCH_DOGS is getting a sequel, based on the principle that shit is a good fertilizer. And I see they'd abandoned the boring hero strategy for the blisteringly irritating hero who's watched too many Jonny Lee Miller films approach. 

You know what? E3 2016 was a show of names. Lots of familiar names, some with incremental numbers on the end, some without. And I know that's pretty much the case every year, but there was an unusual spike in familiar names appearing over totally unfamiliar things. Resident Evil has never been Hoarders meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Prey was a lot of things, most of them retarded, but none of them are evident in what is now being referred to as Prey. And since Doom, Bethesda clearly feel they're onto a good thing wiring up their milking machines to old id properties. But Quake Champions seems to have bugger-all to do with the original Quake and bugger-lots to do with Overwatch being more successful than the MMR vaccine.

If they keep this up, then soon we'll enter a world where names are totally fucking meaningless which would come as a relief to my friend, Patrick Childmolester. 

Addenda Edit

  • Eee Bah Gum: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Mind you I'm all over that new Spider-Man whose costume looks like he's taken a copious discharge to the torso
  • How long before Microsoft announces an Xbone that can run Steam
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2

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