Another E3 has passed and most of us are still marvelling at all the gifts that videogame Santa left in our stockings. The general consensus is that this year’s E3 was ‘off the charts!’, but what are our individual thoughts? Was it everything we hoped for? Did all our dreams turn into realities? Of course not, we’re gamers; we always find something to complain about. Whether it is graphics, frame rates, resolutions or just simply wanting to stamp our feet like recalcitrant children because we didn’t get what we wanted – what we deserve, the gamer finds a way to sully the gifts of E3. Still, not everyone is a negative Nancy and all games inspire many polarised opinions. Below we present to you what we each loved, hated and what surprised us at E3 2015.
Loved: Bethesda. They had the biggest effect on my feels, firstly with their brutal reboot trailer for Doom. It has been a long time coming and it was worth every second of waiting. The violent takedowns and fast-paced gunplay was perfectly Doom. Let’s hope the game lives up to its newly-acquired hype. The publishing giant’s second announcement was probably my highlight of E3. Dishonored 2. It is happening, and the best part is they are continuing the story from the first one (something I was unsure about given the ending I got in number one). We don’t have a release window, but all that matters is that it is happening.
Sony’s newest AAA exclusive also captured my interest. Horizon: Zero Dawn from Guerrilla Games (Killzone developers) looks like an original action-RPG, which has you taking down robot dinosaurs during the rebirth of mankind. Xbox must also get some accolades for announcing that the Xbox One will become backwards compatible. While it isn’t a feature I personally would use, I can see the appeal and if it brings gamers across who are sitting on the fence of upgrading, then it is a good thing.
Lastly, the newest iterations in the Just Cause and Sniper: Ghost Warrior series get my tick of approval. Just Cause has always been a game I have wanted to play but have never found the time. This newest entry looks like mad fun, so I’ll be pencilling it into my schedule. The third Sniper looks like it will finally hit the highs the series has been aiming for. The second had far more lesser moments than greater ones, but CI Games seem to have taken the feedback on board and appear to be on the right track.
Hated: Timed DLC. What a shit concept. Exclusive DLC I can (vehemently) live with, but timed DLC is bullshit. The content is coming to all platforms eventually, so why punish the gamers for a few extra bucks in the pockets of the shareholders? The biggest offenders here are Bungie and Sony. The first and second expansion content all had timed exclusive DLC for PlayStation, yet Xbox gamers had to pay the same amount and wait months for the content to ‘unlock’ on their console of choice. Fuck ya I say. While the announcement of its sequel had me rock-hard, the unveiling of Dishonored ‘Definitive Edition’ angered me and for a split second I told myself I wouldn’t support Bethesda in the future (carn mate, sif). What a cash grab. What a waste of money. We’ve already got the GOTY edition, which I am not opposed to, as it gives players who haven’t played before a chance to play the game and all of its content in one purchase. But this money could be spent on making the sequel even better instead of cramming more unnecessary HD remakes down our throats.
Bethesda, whilst flexing their impressive pectorals at E3, showed us that you shouldn’t skip leg day. In this case leg day was Battlecry. That game just looked out of place, and because it did, it looked shit. The free-to-play concept has never appealed to me as it reeks of pay-to-win and underdeveloped titles. Lastly I was disappointed with the showing of Halo 5: Guardians. It just looked so… generic. Has the Halo series peaked and now entered decline? Was it that Doom went first and makes other FPS look boring now? Or is that I am not surgically attached to Master Chief’s asshole like a human centipede and can see what fanboys can’t? I will say though the new multiplayer modes look fun.
Surprised: There weren’t many surprises that were announced, I was more surprised by what wasn’t shown. Sony have already said they have a thin exclusive line-up as it is. So why didn’t we see Until Dawn on the big stage? It is their only remaining AAA exclusive to release this year, yet there was no mention of it (the opening montage doesn’t count). Instead we were ‘treated’ to some bullshit Batman exclusive DLC. This is the one area that Microsoft are tongue-punching Sony at. Lift, Sony.
I honestly thought that we would see an announcement for RE 7. After the critically polarising yet mildly commercially successful RE 6 in 2012, and considering the wildfire rumours that it was coming this year, all we got from the series was news about a HD remake of Resident Evil Zero. Can we expect an unveiling at the Tokyo Game Show? I also thought maybe Ubisoft would give us a new Splinter Cell. Clearly, like Kieran Stockton insisting that Fallout 4 will be coming in 2016 (sweet, sweet victory), I was wrong.
I was also surprised that Rare announced a brand new IP, as all the signs pointed to a reboot or new entry in an older, more well-known franchise from their formidable roster… like Battletoads.
I love E3. The early mornings, the surprises, the cringe moments, the awkward celebrity cameos. It all just combines into a maelstrom of awesome that still has people talking many months after everyone’s left the convention centre. Here’s what grabbed my attention, both in good and bad ways, at this year’s E3:
Loved: Horizon: Zero Dawn. When I first heard Guerrilla Games were branching away from Killzone with a new game, I was glad we wouldn’t have to suffer another Killzone game, and indifferent to what they would come up with next. The Killzone games were either average, or below, with nonsensical plot lines and a distinctive style over substance vibe. So I was absolutely flabbergasted when I saw GG come out with a game that has one of the most interesting premises for a videogame world that I’ve seen in a good long while. If GG can bring their flair for good graphics and mix it with solid gameplay in such an interesting setting, my wallet may as well pack its bags, travel to the studio’s headquarters and throw itself at them. Another game that got me was Star Wars: Battlefront. I’ve been keeping my good eye on this one for a while. I don’t trust EA as far as I can throw them out off a bridge, and I’m still wary, but the game looks incredibly interesting. I’ve always swayed more towards COD than Battlefield, but perhaps my love for Star Wars can bridge the gap and get me into this title. In terms of conferences I loved Sony’s presentation (although Bethesda of course won hands down). The gaming giant just kept rolling with awesome announcements, and there was barely any filler or pointless exec talk that makes my eyes glaze over (looking at you, Microsoft).
Hated: Destiny: The Taken King. What a smack in the face to find out that this supposed expansion is coming out and costs almost as much as a full retail game. I put many hours into Destiny until the The Dark Below Expansion (not so much an expansion as an ill-advised backwards leap for the game), at which point I pulled up my pants and refused to be dry-barrelled by Bungivision any longer. The audacity of a company that would charge so much (even more for the collector’s edition) for something that feels like it was chopped out of the original game is astounding. EA Access is also something I was similarly unenthused by although you have to admire the lengths EA will go to in order to squeeze every last cent out of everything they touch. With their marketing team presumably comprising at least a handful of Sith Lords, I’m sure one day we will be paying a monthly subscription fee to have them come around our house and kick us in the teeth, and we will smile and thank them kindly for the service.
Surprised: The Last Guardian. Much like my crushing suplex on DYEGB Editor Zach Jackson during a recent clash, The Last Guardian came out of nowhere. For Sony to open with this was a master stroke and it set up the strong conference that followed. It looked good too, bringing back pleasant memories of ICO. The FFVII remake also surprised me, as people have been asking Squeenix for this one for eons, and I’m pretty sure their handbook expressly states: “Do the opposite of what fans want.” Even better though, it’s not just a HD remake (of which I’ve had a veritable gutful to be honest), but a proper reimagining to benefit from modern technology while retaining the heart of the beloved original.
Loved: What a year it was for gaming in 2015 at this year’s show. With an abundance of fantastic-looking titles we were all very much spoilt for choice, no matter what platform or kind of gamer we happen to be. For me however, the big one would be Fallout 4 hands down. It truly was a sigh of relief to see the game formally announced last week and even better seeing it in action at Bethesda’s pretty amazing showcase. While retaining everything that makes it distinctly Fallout, all the new additions like customisation and direction of story are a dream come true for my inner fanboy.
I was also very impressed with Guerilla Game’s new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn in what looks to be a glorious hybrid of Killzone-esque machines with a vibrant post-apocalyptic world.
The new Hitman trailer was dripping in class (and death) too and it gave a few little hints that the new entry in the series is going to be one massive world to dive into. It will also apparently be a prequel to one of the best games of all time: Hitman: Blood Money.
The Last Guardian and Dreams are also firmly locked on my radar.
Hated: Things that did not quite get my blood pumping? Well for all its bro-fisting and flying bullets the latest addition to Call of Duty kind of left me feeling a bit cold. Sure it’s got some great-looking set pieces but really just felt like much of the same. Advanced Warfare actually got me excited for COD again and I thoroughly enjoyed its different take on the action, but Black Ops III seems to be just taking AW and speeding it up. 4-player campaign co-op is pretty cool however.
Surprised: The biggest surprise would have to be (and a lot of old school gamers will agree) the reveal of a Final Fantasy VII remake. Even though we have no clue as to how it will play or even when we may possibly see it, the very notion of a remake of one of the most iconic JRPGs in gaming’s history blew the entire internet (and Square Enix’s share prices) away. Also, Shenmue 3 getting a Sony-advertised Kickstarter was quite odd, but very awesome none the less.