It’s that time of year again.
The time when gaming fans inundate themselves in syrupy hype over the unreleased skeletons of games they probably won’t buy.
The time when the non-gaming community are harassed online by adverts and trailers as large corporations chuck money at Google to make their products visible.
You (probably didn’t) guessed it! Another E3 has come and gone. The excitement of the day and anticipation of all the wrapped up presents under the E-tree are already dying off. But before I forget all about it, I thought I’d keep to tradition and do a good old review of the whole shebang.
And to avoid making this a dissertation length project, I’m just going to touch on the really outstanding moments: be they the outstandingly great or outstandingly dreadful.
EA’s YouTuber oversight
Although I could mention EA’s weak introduction of Madden NFL and the accompanying underwhelming drummers, the most outstanding moment was thanks to EA’s over-reliance on YouTubers. Fame doesn’t necessarily equal good presentation skills, and poor old Jesse Wellens found out the hard way: there’s no editing out a false start during a live show!
Having said that, Need for Speed Payback spoke for itself pretty well when the reveal trailer was finally played.
For me though the best moments were in the sheer amount of Battlefront 2 we got to see. EA CEO admitted to Star Wars Battlefront not really delivering on expectations and so followed a list of improvements which could have been taken from my original review…
Story mode, all eras of the franchise, deeper combat mechanics – everything. And at the centre of it all? A playable Darth Maul in multiplayer. Icing on the cake.
Microsoft shows 43 games
It’s true, they did! Granted many I found uninteresting and made me fidget through the conference, but there were some great moments nestled in there.
Don’t get me started on Microsoft’s opener. Forza 7 – blandness at its blandest. It’s going to be Forza 4/5/6 with better graphics. They even brought in the new Porche 911 to show off which interested about two people in the crowd.
However… Microsoft did better this year generally! The new Ori game looks charming and the music threatened to bring tear to eye, Bioware’s Anthem interested me, but oddly enough it was Metro: Exodus which really hit my buttons.
The gritty realism of this post-apocalyptic shooter sends the pulse racing, and the emphasis on survival rather than heroism draws me in. I think it’s the masochistic Dark Souls player in me wanting to feel small and insignificant in an impressively oppressive game world.
Oh and the new console, the Xbox One X, interested me a little, until I saw the price…
This year I realised that Ubisoft are absolutely nuts, and that’s a good thing. Traversing the language barrier many of Ubisoft’s leaders clumsily confessed their raw passion for game development, and it showed in the energy of the performance they put on.
So although it would be obvious (if you’ve seen it) to crown the outstanding moment to Ubisoft CEO and Nintendo CEO’s mock battle on stage, for me it was Michel Ancel’s tear shedding at his announcement of a game fans have been wanting for 14 years…
I’m not sure what lifted the atmosphere of the room more, the trailer itself, or Ancel’s reaction. It’s purely cinematic… but Beyond Good and Evil 2 looks crazy!
It’s difficult for me to talk about Bethesda in a bad light. The makers of my favorite RPG, Oblivion and resounding fan favourites, these guys usually have something exciting in the works to show us each June.
Not this year.
Setting aside the lack of games (compared to the last two years), Bethesda got their marketing really really wrong.
The conference was made up of thirty minutes (bearing in mind conferences are generally over an hour) of pre-recorded trailers and luke-warm reveals interspersed with try-hard humour which fell flat.
They staged what they called ‘Bethesdaland’ as some kind of Fallout post-apocalyptic amusement park but the truth was painfully clear to see. They didn’t have anything to show.
Todd Howard, Bethesda’s voice of influence, was nowhere to be seen, no new IP’s were teased, DLC packs and a VR Skyrim rerelease were thrust at us with a “you’re welcome” (bearing in mind Skyrim released in 2011 originally!) and throughout the show there was an eerie lack of humanity on the stage.
Playstation know how to put on a show
OK, now despite many sources claiming Xbox won E3 this year, I thought Sony’s press conference was incredible from start to finish.
Setting aside the fact Playstation’s CEO looks like an evil mastermind from Despicable Me… the music, effects and games on show were impressive and surprising despite a lot of E3 2016 repeats.
Regrettably they dropped the orchestra from last year, but Playstation’s intro was still the strongest of the bunch.
No Bloodbourne 2, but I’m still sorely tempted to splash on one of these. God of War, Days Gone, the Last of Us 2 (not shown in conference), Shadow of the Colossus remaster, Monster Hunter, Crash Bandicoot and Spider Man – still a strong line up from the blue corner.
Who won E3 2017?
Every conference showed some pretty incredible looking games, and although Xbox probably had the highest density of new content (and hardware), the prize has got to go to Ubisoft for their comical and emotional stage presence and crowd pleasing reveals.