It’s that time of the year again where people who live in far away lands awake up at all hours of the night and tune into the press conferences given on stage in Los Angeles, California to see what adventures they’ll be taken on through their console in the year(s?) to come. Yes that’s right. It’s E3 time again.
Given that I have a full time job I haven’t been able to tune in to all the press conferences at this years E3 but I have managed to watch the three console developers and while the general feeling has been that this years E3 hasn’t lived up to previous years, I believe there were still some golden games shown.
Microsoft came out swinging hard finally releasing the details of project Scorpio. The Xbox One X as it will be known from here on has been promoted as the worlds most powerful console however it was not a brand new console some had thought it would be. It sits along side the PlayStation Pro in the range of the consoles albeit more powerful. Given that the Xbox One X will produce 4K graphics at 60FPS (for some titles) this puts it up with the PC in terms of gaming experience, given you have a good enough TV. However I don’t realistically think that the PC master race will be swayed to convert to console, especially given that they have access to the same Microsoft library of games, and at $649 AU ($499 American) I honestly can see many people picking up the console. It’s a large expense for better graphics and smoother running (along with all those flops!) of the same experience that you’ll get on the standard Xbox One. But that’s how I view it and I’m happy to be proven wrong. Microsoft also had games to show us, 42 to be exact, with 22 “exclusives” which when announced certainly sucked us all in. In real terms most of these exclusives were referred to as ‘console launch exclusives’ which has since been clarified that it means the games will launch first exclusively on the Xbox One and then at a later point be released on the other consoles (PlayStation and the Switch). Given how poorly this panned out for Rise of the Tomb Raider and Square Enix I though that might have been the last we saw of these timed exclusive games however it appears that they are still hanging around. At least as gamers if there is a game that is timed exclusive then we can live in hope that one day we will be able to play it on the console that we have.
Microsoft started by driving a brand new Porsche on to the stage (the only thing cheaper than the Xbox One X on the stage) to reveal a new Forza Motosport title. Driving games are always good to show off a new console so this wasn’t much of a surprise. The game certainly does look good and hopefully the driving mechanics are of a high enough quality that the game feels like a well rounded driving game and not one where they spent too much time with the graphics.
Cup Head finally gets a release date which will appease the many people who have been waiting years for this release. We also got a sneak peak of the Life is Strange prequel Before the Storm. This along with Life is Strange 2 are two of the most anticipated games around at the moment so it’s great to see some footage to know that it is coming out.
Xbox also had the world first showing of the new Assassins Creed title Origins. While this game looks fantastic and the story should be able to fill in some holes left in the other titles I was a but disappointed in this release, Ubisoft took a year off the Assassin’s Creed franchise to refresh a series that had become stale and predicable, ironically after the best game in the series they had produced in a while. However the game looks and felt like an Assassin’s Creed game, one which followed the same formula as the others with minor changes. They also had removed one of the best aspects of the game introduced in Syndicate, a playable female character. Evie was what made Syndicate so great and not having either the choice or requirement to be able to play as a female is a huge step backwards for Ubisoft.
Playstation tried to keep surfing that wave of success that was last years E3 conference and went with games, games, games. While there were certainly some very impressive games shown there was slight disappointment in the lack of new games or release dates on the ones shown. That said the trailers for the Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn and Detroit: Become Human all looked very impressive. They will be games I will be looking forward to finding out more about and hopefully more information is forth coming over the remainder of E3.
Days Gone certainly had an impressive trailer detailing an open world experience to the zombie apocalypse. Revealing different ways to interact with the world and the environment to complete your goals. This will certainly appeal to many gamers out there however I am not one.
I’ve never played a God of War game but the trailer for the new game definitely had me wanting to dive deeper into this world. It’s possible that the game is trapping into the success of the format from The Last of Us with the older character guiding a child through the game however this can be successful when done right and the information shown certainly shows enough to suggest that this has been done right.
VR, of course, had a very heavy showing as you would expect as Sony tries to push it’s technology to sell more units. The In Patient, Star Child, Bravo Team and Moss all had teaser trailers that didn’t show off too much information. The In Patient is that game that appeals the most to me but realistically to spend the sort of money the VR set up costs it would need to be pretty good, along with more titles than what they have at the moment.
While there were some people who were not satisfied with the games and details Playstation put out there in their press conference when Shawn Layden came back on stage to reveal an hour had passed it was hard to believe. The presentation had my attention the whole time and revealed enough information to make me keen for the years ahead. The press conference of course finished with the new Spiderman game as many had predicted. The problem with super hero games is there’s often too much to do in them and they become very complicated which doesn’t translate to an enjoyable experience. However if Spiderman plays like it looks then this could be a fantastic game, however only time will tell.
Nintendo for me had the best conference of all. Whilst the games that both Microsoft and Playstation showed looked fantastic, entertaining and worth my money neither of the conferences left me with the feeling that I needed to go out and buy an Xbox One or a Playstation Pro (I already own a PS4 so I may have been tempted if I didn’t) but the Nintendo conference left me with a feeling on needing to own a Switch. My main reason behind not buying a Nintendo Switch was the cost verses the games that are available to play on it. Whilst I am aware that games will come out in time and there will be plenty of titles to play the cost to play the few games out now isn’t worth it, I’ll buy one in the future. Well maybe that future is now, Kirby and Yoshi are all getting new adventures and there was news that a new Pokemon RPG title is in the works.
Xenoblade Chronicles is getting a sequel which looks fantastic with great story and mechanics, Metroid Prime 4 is coming, Fire Emblem Warriors to be released in the fall of the north hemisphere and the announcement of two new DLC packs for Zelda: Breath of the Wild have been revealed. While fan favourites like FIFA and Rocket League are either returning to the Nintendo fold or coming for the first time.
Nintendo finished their conference with a massive trailer for Super Mario: Odyssey. I haven’t felt like this about a Mario game since Super Mario 64 (which still ranks as one of my all time favourite games). Super Mario: Odyssey sees a return to the 3D format along with some interesting side scrolling 2D as well. Mario’s hat plays a very big roll in the trailer allowing Mario to take over and control other characters within the game, including enemies allowing you to use their powers to your advantage.
Super Mario: Odyssey matched up with Zelda: Breath of the Wild gives me reason enough to buy a Switch and the other game titles that we have been shown only serves to make me believe after those two games I’ll have plenty more to play. Nintendo have done a much more successful job of selling the Switch at E3 than at their Nintendo Direct where they launched the system and I’m sure they’ll sell a lot more consoles after E3 because of it.