Every year I am reminded of why it’s not worth staying up to watch half of the E3 press conferences. EA showed me pretty much nothing I wanted aside from Anthem and that had more of a presence at Microsoft’s show than EA. However there are still a few things that I would consider my highlights of E3. From a games perspective, I was surprised by the amount Nintendo had hooked me on. Mario Odyssey, Metroid Prime 4, that Pokémon game for the Switch, I wasn’t expecting to really care about Nintendo as this year’s E3 especially seeing as I wasn’t one of those people clamouring for Mario Odyssey. Ubisoft got me with Mario x Rabbids Kingdom Battle, I’ll admit but that’s it for them. Sony had the most stuff I would consider myself keen for: Destiny 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, Monster Hunter World and I was genuinely surprised by the announcement of Skyrim VR for the PSVR. Wolfenstein II looks sick, I loved the first one (though The Old Blood was a bit of a step down) and it made watching the Bethesda show worth it. My biggest highlight in terms of games though would have to be the announcement of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Ori and the Blind Forest has to be what I would consider Microsoft’s best exclusives. It was a mark of creativity in a market that seems to much rather stretched out franchises than new ideas. Everything about the game, ranging from its beautifully orchestrated soundtrack to its brilliantly simple perk system, was simply a masterpiece. Moon Studios definitely showed me that they’re a developer worth following and the announcement of Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the biggest news for me.
My biggest highlight, however, was the entirety of Devolver Digital’s E3 conference. What a show! I know most people said “oh it was so cringey and awkward”, but they missed the point. The entire point of the show was to essentially mock the whole industry in what used to be the biggest event every year for gaming (PSX and Nintendo Direct make it seem a little more redundant now). “I’ve got a lot to show you. I’ve got a lot to show. I’ve got a lot to tell you about, much of which will blow your mind up, some will frighten your extended family a little, a small amount of which will get you arrested possibly even slightly aroused, all of which is designed to convince you to give use your hard earned money!” The amount of satire and sarcasm that was put forth in the conference was what made it memorable. Sure there were games announced that I can’t remember but the conference itself was fantastic! Devolver Digital, you did good!
I love E3. I love it more than Christmas and I certainly love it more than my birthday. Unlike those other overrated holiday periods, E3 has more surprises and I get what I want. I actually take annual leave every year so I can stay up and watch it. So how did this year stack up? While Sony for me has carried E3 for the last couple of years and while Sony’s showing treaded familiar territory, I would say that overall E3 was an improvement from all the conferences.
Microsoft did well, really well. Sure they don’t have the big triple A exclusives, but their third party offerings were stellar. Metro: Exodus was a pleasant surprise, Assassin’s Creed: Origins looks great, Anthem will be the talk of the town for months and I am keen for the Life is Strange prequel. Not that there weren’t exclusives I didn’t care about. Sea of Thieves’ demo was a major step-up from previous years and I’m back on board, Last Night and Ashen look amazing and Ori and the Will of the Wisp has me hyped AF seeing as though the original is my favourite Xbox One game to date. I also thought Microsoft handled the Xbox One X information well. However, due to the fact they showed so much, there was a lot I was not interested in. That’s the risk you take.
EA sucked. I’m excited for A Way Out and Anthem. That’s it.
Bethesda was interesting. Everyone knows I’m a VR evangelist, and I can’t wait to get my hands on DOOM VFR. While there wasn’t much shown, I was impressed that all of Bethesda’s offerings were coming by the end of the year AND they had a game for every single platform (Switch, VR and mobile included). But it was Wolfenstein: The New Colossus that stole the show. P.S. I can’t say no to more Dishonored!
Ubisoft surprised me. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was surprisingly good, Far Cry 5’s new buddy system looks very fun and Beyond Good and Evil 2 had a very engaging CGI trailer (which I usually detest) and I can’t wait to finally play it. I appreciated Ubisoft getting Michel Ancel and Miyamato on stage for some truly memorable moments.
Sony didn’t say a single word until 15 minutes in and when they did they didn’t say much. They just showed games and what was shown was good despite the lack of surprises. Days Gone didn’t sell me last year but wow I am so ready for that dynamic world. Another surprise for me was the Uncharted: Lost Legacy trailer, which had me thinking this is a whole new Uncharted game. Shadow of the Colossus remake was a massive surprise for me and something I have wished for for a couple of years now. Monster Hunter World looks fantastic and it’s going to get a huge following. Spiderman also looks phenomenal. It’s Spiderman and I love that. It was the God of War trailer that stole the show. My god it gave me goosebumps. I adore the fact that Kratos will have to face his past at some point. Sony also showed its VR owners it is serious about the platform. Skyrim VR is a big deal, MOSS looks adorable and Inpatient being a prequel to Until Dawn has me excited. Although, I think they some of the VR showings were fillers and affected the pacing of the show overall.
Nintendo was surprisingly amazing. Two new games were showcased for next year and look to be nice fillers between big releases (Yoshi + Kirby). Mario Odyssey looks like one of the best things I’ve ever seen and Xenoblade 2 had a nice trailer with a reinstated 2017 release date. But it was the double whammy megaton drop that had me screaming like a fanboy in my bed 2:00am in the morning. Metroid Prime 4 and a core RPG Pokemon on the Switch. One got a title and one didn’t even get anything. But that’s all I needed to be really excited!
E3 came and went with its fair share of surprises. I can’t say that I expected much, but this year turned out reasonably okay. There wasn’t much cringe at all, there were some actually interesting new games, and nobody came out too angry. Hell, not even Bethesda bringing back paid mods was enough to start the Internet Hate Machine. But what were the best? What were the games I loved the most?
Wolfenstein II is my game of the year. I don’t even need to play it to know that. The trailer at Bethesda’s conference was the sole reason I even watched the sordid affair (paaaaaid mooooods). The New Order and its standalone expansion The Old Blood were both tremendously good games, and moving the story across the Atlantic should make for the same great characterisation that the last game boasted. I’ve never been as excited for more of the same.
Nintendo’s been listening to fans regarding the state of their classic games, it seems. The announcement of two new Metroid games was a welcome surprise, especially the first 2D game in the series since Zero Mission in 2004. No, seriously. Metroid Prime 4 is an exciting prospect, but why stop here? Nintendo, if you’re really listening, the last F-Zero game was released in 2004 as well. It was also Japan-only. Hint hint?
Other games that piqued my interest, albeit a passing one, are Skull and Bones, A Way Out, the fever dream Mario x Rabbids game that’s literally just an X-COM clone, Dragon Ball FighterZ, the much-needed Age of Empires remaster, Cuphead (always and forever), Spider-Man, The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti, The Last Night, Wargroove and the actual existence of Beyond Good and Evil 2. The rest of 2017 looks very bright indeed.
Spiderman, Spiderman, Spiderman. They showed exactly what I wanted to see – a Batman-esque pseudo clone with at least one villain that isn’t main roster. And they delivered! Game looks the business. Now to patiently for it to release.