E3 has come!
Let us all be joyous and binge-watch the hell out of it for the next few weeks, as there is a megaton of videos to watch. Or, if you would allow, I can provide you with some guidance on what to check out, and what to avoid in this quick E3 guide. First I’ll briefly cover the 5 major press conferences. I’ll follow-up with a set of games worth looking into, and those that should be avoided.
Then I’ll finish things off with my personal opinions and commentary. Ready? Set. Go! TL;DR: Watch Sony’s press conference. Watch the extended play demos of the new Zelda game.
On Sunday there were two major press conferences between major publishers EA and Bethesda. EA was first, and oh man was it lackluster. EA announced that they have a bunch new Star Wars games in development, but didn’t show much gameplay of any of them, if at all. Mass Effect Andromeda was briefly shown, looks like it’ll play more like the first one. The newest FIFA game will have a story campaign mode (yes, a story mode for a soccer game). Titanfall 2 is coming out for both consoles, and will include a real single-player campaign. The one indie game shown by EA, called “Fe”, doesn’t look bad but also doesn’t look super interesting; just meh. I guess if you are a Star Wars or Battlefield fan, you’ll enjoy EA’s press conference.
Bethesda held a better conference than EA, showing off more overall gameplay footage and live demos. Bethesda announced a new Quake game, which initially sounds like an Overwatch-style game with its use of “champions”. Prey looks like modern day Dead Space, but with more psychological horror. A bunch of DLC expansion stuff for existing Bethesda games like Fallout 4 and Doom. A “too soon” re-mastering of Skyrim. Bethesda also announced Fallout 4 and Doom VR support. Finally, Bethesda closed with an extended demo of Dishonored 2, which looks like the first game, only better? Monday started off with Microsoft’s press conference.
Microsoft will release a smaller and cheaper version of the Xbox One later this year. Sometime next year Microsoft will then release a more-powerful version of the Xbox One, codenamed Scorpio, which will support 4k resolution. Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, and Dead Rising 4 were shown off and didn’t really impress, but certainly didn’t look bad. Perhaps the most exciting game from Microsoft is Sea of Thieves, which is essentially a multiplayer action-simulation pirate game. Microsoft didn’t have a bad press conference, but certainly didn’t go out of their way to excite, unless you really care about buying a game once, and being able to play it on either PC or Xbox One via Live account. Unless you are a major fan of most of the games shown off by Microsoft, you can skip this 90 minute conference.
Ubisoft’s conference was the longest of the bunch, coming in at 2 hours long. However, it was somewhat entertaining thanks to their awesome host. This conference was all about their games. I am not a fan of typical military FPS games, but Ghost Recon: Wildlands was impressive. Ubisoft is making the ultimate Star Trek VR game, where you, and friends, will have to assume various roles and operate a star ship. If you are a Star Trek fan, definitely check this showing out. Everything else from Ubisoft was either decent, or good, depending on your interests. However, “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” presentation easily stole the show. It was hilarious in many ways. If you don’t want to burn 2 hours of time, at least catch the Ubisoft South Park presentation.
The last press conference was from Sony. Oh man was it good. At a slim ~60 minutes, Sony mostly made sure to waste no time with people walking on and off stage. Instead they opted to show one game trailer after another. To quickly summarize: more games were shown off at Sony’s press conference, more interesting games were shown off, almost no awkward on-stage teleprompter bullshit, and a plethora of surprise announcements. This is the must-watch press E3 conference, and I’ll leave it at that without spoiling any further. Of the major game publishers, clearly Sony won E3.
Now to the games. There are a decent number of worthwhile games to check out. Here is a list of games that are worth watching a video or two of, along with a small interesting tidbit; even if you are not familiar with the franchise or game type: Battlefield 1 (set in WWI era), God of War (Kratos being a father), Watch Dogs 2 (better main character, more interactive hacking of world), South Part: The Fractured But Whole (comedy superhero RPG), Spiderman (made by triple-A team with a big budget), Resident Evil 7 (complete reboot of the franchise), Dishonored 2 (open-world steam-punk stealth game), Ghost Recon (open-world FPS focused on takedown of major drug empire), The Last Guardian (releasing this year), Prey (franchise reboot as psychological horror), Sea of Thieves (role-play with friends as pirates in an open-world game), Horizon Zero Dawn (open-world primitive hunter/gatherer meets big beast bots), Scalebound (multiplayer action game with dragons), and Death Stranding (Hideo Kojima’s new game). The following are games that are only worth looking into if you are familiar with the franchise or game genre. This isn’t to say that they are bad; they just didn’t have a good E3 showing, or, are not doing anything ground breaking: Final Fantasy XV (didn’t show well, bad implementation of VR), Gears of War 4 (it looks like it’ll play just like GoW3, 2, or 1), Days Gone (another zombie game), Steep (snowboard, ski, wing suit, paragliding game), Recore (3D-platformer with unique robot companions), Pokémon Sun and Moon (more Pokémon to catch), Detroit Become Human (interactive storytelling), Fe (cute-ish 3D platformer), Trials of the Blood Dragon (turbo kid the video game), Star Trek VR (for Trekkies with a couple thousand dollars to spend), Forza Horizon 3 (open-world racing in Australia).
All right, that covers all the various E3 things worth talking about. There is absolutely nothing else worth mentioning, especially not from Nintendo, and especially not from a 30-year-old beloved franchise. Oh wait, there is this one game called “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” that was shown by Nintendo. I guess if you are interested in learning about THE game of this year’s E3, then you should check it out. Now to be a little serious, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, looks like an absolute blast to play. For the many Zelda fans that have always wanted an open-world Skyrim-esque Zelda game, this is it, and so much more than that. If social media is any indication, Zelda absolutely stole the show. So that was 2016’s E3 in a nutshell. Sony won the press conferences, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the overall best game of E3. A pretty solid showing all around, with a little something for everyone. My only major complaint was with the severe lack of interesting indie games.