So another E3 wraps and as usual there’s a ton to sift through. I think Microsoft and Ubisoft had the smoothest presentations while Sony, Bethesda, Square Enix, and EA had rocky or downright awkward moments. (I didn’t get to watch Nintendo’s.)
Out of all of them, Microsoft had the most riding on their show. They’ve been struggling to keep up with the other consoles and I think they did a great job. It was a relentless tide of trailer after trailer, bringing their heavy hitters such as Halo and Gears of War as well as being able to include some big third party games like The Division 2. They also made a smart move by shoring up their first party studios with five new additions, so expect Xbox One to close the gap with Playstation’s suite of developers.
Sony’s format was achingly strange, with a lengthy intermission after the first trailer just to shuffle their entire live audience to another location, using commentators to cover up the time. I’m not sure what they expected but the momentum quickly built by The Last of Us Part II came screeching to a halt. Mercifully, it was only a one-time venue change, but that made it all the more puzzling as to why they thought it was even worth it.
While many thought the initial barn/church setting was weird, I actually liked it. It was a striking difference than the other companies trying to fill giant arenas and mostly empty stage space. The string-lighted, woodsy interior felt so warm and intimate. It put forth this sense of being up close and personal with their fans.
However weird their format was, the quality of what they showed was powerful enough to overcome any fan trepidation. Lengthy gameplay demos for The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Spider-man all had me completely sold.
For Microsoft, I appreciate what they did and wish for them to have more success, but their collection of games just don’t resonate with me. Nintendo leaned heavily on Smash Bros which will make some fans ecstatic but I’ve never been too into those games. Bethesda had its expected off-kilter aura but have a strong enough catalog and a rebel attitude that made it still work. Ubisoft probably had the most balanced showing with a smooth presentation and a wide variety of quality games. Square Enix was a bit puzzling in that they really just sped through trailers with basically no showmanship. And poor EA continues to have subpar showings with awkward transitions and cringe-worthy moments like having an on-stage mobile game match. Even the charisma of Andrea Rene from What’s Good Games and the caliber of Battlefield V couldn’t salvage that mess.
In regards to the games, The Division 2 had a big showing but it doesn’t seem different enough from the first game to interest me. I don’t know anything about the Beyond Good and Evil world but I’m now very curious to see what they have in store. I’m very interested by Cyberpunk 2077 especially given how consumer-friendly that developer is, but I want to see gameplay. Anthem also had a big footprint but after Andromeda I’ve been wary of Bioware and their showing didn’t really do anything to assuage my trepidation. Fallout 76 looked intriguing until the whole online thing came up. Now it’ll be a wait and see for me. And I don’t give a crap about sports or mobile games so stop showing them on stage!
I’m sure everyone has their own take on the events, which probably vary wildly from mine. Overall, I don’t care who “won” and think that strong showings by every company (particularly the big consoles) only mean that we gamers come out on top.
To wrap, here are my favorite games out of this year’s E3:
I’d never heard of this game but am vaguely familiar with the studios. The trailer, to me, was perfect. It was surreal, mysterious, and tantalizing. I’m definitely paying attention.
While it didn’t get any stage presence, a game showing at IGN’s news desk was able to capture my interest. By the same people who made Oxenfree, the game seems unique and has a strikingly cool aesthetic.
A lengthy demo has me salivating, so it’s good that the game comes out in a few months. The movement and fighting seem fluid but I really just can’t wait to swing around New York City! Maybe I’ll do a Tour NYC video when the game comes out to compare the game’s version of the city with the real thing!
The Last of Us Part II
Naturally this was the high point for me. Surprisingly, I wasn’t blown away by the graphics. I think God of War and Detroit were more impressive. However, Naughty Dog remains unparalleled in emoting and believable acting. Other than some minor elements like dodging, the gameplay doesn’t seem to stray too far from the first game and that’s fine by me. It’s been a while since I played the original and have forgotten how harrowing and tense the situations are, and the sequel looks like it easily recaptures that essence. Ultimately, if this sequel just continues what the first did, I’ll be perfectly happy.