Leave your hopes at the door, folks, because on this stage of black and red, apathy is the only certainty. To put it bluntly, this was a waste of time, so much so that I wanted to punch my head hard enough that my knuckles and/or eyes popped out and gave me something better to watch. This was an exercise in tedious disappointment, with a structure so banal and pre-constructed that it almost drove me to turn the stream off mid-show. It’s not that hard to throw a PC show, and yet, somehow, the PC Gaming Show managed to give us something boring, wanky and horribly disappointing.
The show started off with the ever delightful Sean Plott (aka, Day) giving a quick spiel about what was to come before taking a seat behind his desk. Much like last year, the show was adopting a talk show structure, bringing devs out to have a quick chat about their upcoming games and show off some trailers. The problem with this structure was immediately evident, since there didn’t seem to be any organic banter happening as people came out. It was highly organised, seemingly pre-planned drivel that did nothing to elaborate on the trailers, assuming the devs were even present.
Not even Sean could save this one
The main issue with this whole presentation was it’s fascination with showing off trailers. This is meant to be a celebration of the PC, the forefront of gaming tech, and we only got to see trailers with no live gameplay. Hell, at least there was a PC on the stage last year, but this year’s formula went trailer, trailer, chat, repeat ad nauseam. This formula proved most infuriating when you had to sit through utter tripe of conversation every two minutes.
After the first few guests, who were there for genuinely intriguing games like DoW3 and LawBreakers, it became obvious that this would be 2 hours of forced conversation. I love Sean, I really do, but it was clear he had to tow the line on this one, and the result was mind-numbing. He asked questions about what it was like to develop the game or what mechanics would be present, but this could have easily been fixed with a live demonstration. I remember last year, when Sean got behind a computer, there was a sense of enthusiasm to him that was sorely lacking this year.
Take your VR anywhere with this convenient, cumbersome, ridiculous carry pack
This lack of enthusiasm was epitomised by the AMD portion of the show. As sponsors, AMD had booked themselves in for an interview, but the CEO was, just like last year, awkward and dull. Even the announcements were underwhelming, and instead of showing off the tech they had in their hands in, oh, say, a live presentation, they used a trailer to show it off. After some cringe worthy fake-natural talking, things didn’t get much better.
By this point, we were pretty much a quarter into the show, and I’ll be honest, so little of note happened that it’s not worth going into details. Every trailer that was shown was underwhelming, lacking any real gameplay or substantial content to have a worthy conversation about. Even ArmA 3 Apex, a game I fangirl’d over when I saw it on screen, left me wondering why Bohemia bothered showing up. At best, there was a teaser trailer that looked cool, and at worst, we got the Razer movie.
“Two words to describe PC? Total control” – This Dude, 2016
About 2/3rds into the show, we got a very strange film to watch. It was called ‘Of Mice and Membrane’, brought to us by the lovely chaps at Razer, and boy oh boy, it was the epitome of wank. It was a piece that paid homage to the mouse and keyboard, but it was so pointless, so lacking in substantial content, that I almost left to go wait for Ubisoft’s conference to start. It was an appalling video, and no one from Razer even came out to chat afterwards, but don’t worry, it got even duller from there.
After whatever the hell it was that Razer made, the games came past hard and fast, each one more lacklustre than the last. Day of Infamy looked like something from 2008, Warframe had a trailer for some DLC and Mankind Divided’s segment was utterly dismal in showing off the game. The talk show format broke the golden rule of ‘show, don’t tell’, and after an hour and a half of it, I was at my breaking point. Then Warren Spector stepped out and added literally nothing to the show.
The look that says it all
To close the show, Warren Spector, the creator of Deus Ex himself, was going to leave us with his thoughts on the PC as a platform. This part wasn’t a talk show structure, opting instead to let Mr. Spector lecture everyone in the room into a stupor. The worst part was that what he was saying was vague, unsubstantiated opinion, and those of us still watching found ourselves disagreeing with what was being said moreso than rallying behind him. Then the show ended. That was it.
Nothing. That’s what this show was: vague trailers with barely any gameplay, awkward conversations that didn’t go into any detail, all in a structure ill-suited for this presentation. It was a forced, PR-controlled apathetic grind of a show with very, very few redeeming qualities. There could have just been two PC’s with publicly available specs doing live demos for those two hours, but no, we had to get pointless conversation with insubstantial trailers. I once had hope for the PC presence at E3, but after this, I seriously question my unwavering commitment to my platform of choice. Grade: F