I know what everyone was thinking when E3 wrapped up: "But what were Janice's favorites?!?!" Well the wait is over, my friends!! Here were the announcements/updates that most interested me:
1) The Last of Us: Part II. VIOLENCE! LESBIANS! Deal with it, motherfuckers, 'cause this is now officially my most anticipated game of all time! Where the original was a sort of allegory for the challenges of fatherhood, this one is a sort of coming-of-age story about the original protagonist's daughter and functions as an allegory for those sorts of challenges. Obviously I can relate to the latter a lot more.
I'm someone who happens to be from a small, rural community in the U.S. and really appreciated that that was the sort of feel that this year's trailer had; the Appalachian sort of vibe. It was captured in a lot of ways, not least of which the intoxicating music! The writing is better than that in most movies and the dance scene...well it just made me feel validated and happy in a way that other AAA games just really haven't. That was special to me. I know it's going to keep on being controversial. These things always are. There will be a boycott campaign organized on Reddit and/or 4chan because lesbians, scary, I know, and the developers and publisher will likely take a commercial hit for taking this narrative risk as a result. I'm sorry that that's the case, but you know, the post-apocalyptic survival quest type of feel that The Last of Us has as a franchise really does actually kind of capture how my teenage years felt spiritually. Most of small town America is lapsing into poverty in a way that feels post-apocalyptic and being oriented toward other females, particularly in that sort of social context, didn't help matters for me.
The game play sequence was INTENSE! And I don't mean in a way that felt superficial, like the game is just throwing waves of enemies at you or something like that. I mean it felt like a more earnest struggle for survival. The guerilla style of combat, the lighting and coloring and subtlety of the music all added to that sense of believable drama and (unlike in say a more cartoony type of title like Shadow of the Tomb Raider) the setting and nature of the allegory, the quality thereof, add to the legitimacy of it. It feels like it could be real.
2) Concrete Genie. I haven't been following this one, but when I saw the walkthrough of the game play, I was completely taken in! In a way, it reminded me of Okami, which is one of my favorite games. You paint things into existence and restore a sense of life to the world using motion controls. And there doesn't seem to be a more appropriate set-up than one that's rooted in real social issues like bullying and environmental ruination. The methodology looks perfect: easy to learn, yet hard to master. The scenes and characters one can paint look absolutely beautiful in a way that convinces me they could bring a broken world back to life.
3) A Plague Tale: Innocence. Honestly, this is just me. I like The Handmaid's Tale. I liked the fifth season of Samurai Jack from last year. I'm a guilt-ridden, unhappy and somewhat paranoid person who likes to sulk and indulge my general fear of life. It's cleansing. This game looks like it will help satisfy that masochistic need that I have. The haunting rendition of Ring Around the Rosie at the end of the trailer was a definite selling point for me. I also just really like the sheer originality of setting a game amidst the Black Plague with the aim of surviving it.
4) Indivisible. On a lighter note, this one just simply looked like a metric ton of fun to me! I love the lively artwork and animation style, the character designs, and the combination of two long-time favorite genres of mine into one. Sometimes I need a cute, happier game too that brings me back to the last time that I was really happy in general, and that's when I was a kid, when 2D platforming games and turn-based RPGs were common and Indivisible looks like a really sweet-natured game that can do that for me in a way that manages to feel unique.
5) Death Stranding. The first trailer for this game didn't much interest me, to be honest. It didn't at first seem to me that this game had any real directionality to it. But the new trailer shown at this year's E3 really had me interested in where Kojima might be going with this! The sense of isolation really drew me in and I sensed that there's something of real meaning to this ghost mystery surrounding our protagonist's apparently-deceased wife that I just really want to know about! Okay yeah, the fetus thing is still weirding me out a little bit. That kind of took me out of the moment when it came into play again. But I'm starting to sense that maybe that's not just random weirdness either; that maybe there is a real point to it being an element of this game. Anyway, I'm just especially curious about this one and where it's headed now.
So there you have it.