As usual a diabolical showing from the worlds biggest game publisher, maybe it’s me but nothing they showed appealed and regardless of the content their delivery was again, as is expected from EA, flat and amateurish. Command and Conquer on mobile, a game no one asked for, or wanted.
Games, games and more games, with a smattering of acquisitions. The best E3 show Microsoft has ever delivered. 50 games 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres, Microsoft have been quiet in the run-up to E3, which I prefer, E3 is about surprises. No needless bullshit, sales numbers and self-fellatio.
My standouts were mainly third party with Kingdom Hearts 3, graphically stunning with the expected batshit crazy contrived narrative. Fallout 76 a complete change to the series, seemingly less RPG, Co-op and greater accessibility. Cyberpunk whilst not giving away much, it was shown as running in-game engine looked pretty and with CD Projekt Red we have to expect it will play as good as it looks. Dying light 2 looking amazing. Having never played the first one, I don’t know why I really like the look of this melee based parkour with a strong narrative killing zombies/(vampires?). We happy few, a Bioshock on LSD, now owned by Microsoft and the indie title Tunic, a foxy based Zelda rip-off, also intrigued me and I didn’t think I needed another Horizon game and frankly didn’t think they could improve on 3, however Forza Horizon 4 looks stunning and great fun, sadly set in the UK though, I’d have like something more exotic, I have to experience the seasons first hand.
Kicking off with Andrew WK? not the greatest start, then up pops Rage 2, the original wasn’t my cup of tea, although with the support of avalanche games it has grabbed me by the balls. The usual suspects of Doom, Prey, Quake and Wolfenstein were shown, with only the new Wolfenstein including a co-op 80s setting floating my boat. Again fallout 76 doing it for me with more details on how the online works and yes it can be played single player, I love Sea of Thieves and this to me is essentially Sea of Thieves in a nuclear wasteland. Finally, some title screens for Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield, also Skyrim very Special Edition was an amusing self-deprecating video. A fair bit of talking swearing but a solid briefing.
Essentially a 40 minute run of game trailers, not much for myself to get interested about other than the already mentioned Kingdom Hearts and Japan conquering Dragon Quest 11. Most of what was shown has been seen before. A very soulless presentation and frankly a bit lazy. Slightly edges EAs briefing as the subject matter was better, just.
In the past, this has always been my favourite briefing, consistently bizarre, presented with enthusiasm and a great range of games. This year was a little disappointing, starting off with Just Dance, as always, complete with dancing pandas. A live musical performance from Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle Donkey Kong DLC, which was pretty cool and mental. Some more footage from the gorgeous, yet distant, Beyond Good and Evil 2. More Division 2 which was again previewed in Microsofts briefing. Kudos to Ubisoft for continuing to support games of theirs which have been on the market for a number of years, such as For Honour and Rainbow 6, but E3 for me is about new games and surprises. Skull and Bones was one I was looking forward to and looks wise it doesn’t disappoint. The battles, however, seemingly chaotic and ridiculously fast, the ships appear to turn on a dime, I was honestly put off from a once intriguing title. Alas, no special announcement from Yves this year, mainly because another retailer leaked the news 2 weeks ago, but our final game was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, no not a Mario based Assassin’s Creed but an ancient Greek setting, 400 years before Origins. It clearly carries lots over from Origins yet looks significantly better, colourful, boats, bigger map and a greater RPG element. Thus far the best game of the show for me.
Rural banjo picking start from the musician Gustavo Santaolalla led straight into a predictably gorgeous cut scene from The Last Of Us 2, excellent voice acting, motion capture and yes a lesbian kiss transposed into an excessively violent playthrough of the game. More of the same from Naughty Dog, which is a good thing, the real big difference is that the infected appear to no longer be the protagonists. Now the odd part, Sony chose to host their event in two different places, therefore we had to sit through a dull disjointed panel section, whilst the audience moved to the next auditorium. Ghosts of Tsushima, for those of you wanting an Assassin’s Creed feudal Japan setting, this is it. It’s quite shocking that had this had an Assassin’s Creed title you wouldn’t question it, similar graphical style the animation seems identical as does the combat, by no means a terrible thing, however, the subject matter is not my thing. It’s peculiar that the best game of Sony’s show was a remake of a 20-year-old game, Resident Evil 2 looked fucking amazing. Death Stranding, looks nice, as to be expected, don’t know what it’s about. I kinda wish they would stop showing this until they have something of substance to show, this is the third E3 we have been exposed to this, no one knows what it’s about or what type of game it will be, my concern is that is Sony showing this because of a lack of big upcoming titles. Spider-Man has lost some of the pizzazz from earlier showings, traversal of the environment looks fun but combat seems reminiscent of the older Spider-Man games, to be expected from the makers of Sunset Overdrive. Generally a very lacklustre briefing.
Daemon X Machina, that’s what Nintendo started their 2018 E3 direct with, what is it? Don’t know, what do you do? Don’t care. Well, it was a Zone of the Enders type thing with shitty rock music. A bizarre game to start with, but it got better. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Party, Overcooked 2, Octopath Traveller, Fortnight, Dragonball Fighterz, Pokemon Lets Go, and Smash Brothers Ultimate. We also got a trailer showing countless forthcoming indie releases and other titles we all knew about such as Crash, Captain Toad and Wolfenstein 2. Sadly no wave race, 1080, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion, Yoshi, F-Zero or Metroid. What was shown looked good, and let’s be honest we generally all buy Nintendo first party games anyway. The biggest problem with this direct was the amount of time spent on Smash, now I understand it’s Smash and we want to know what’s different, but most of what they talked about could have been bundled into a smash direct later in the year, we have until December. Average.
I’d say Microsoft or Bethesda had the best briefings this year, the former due to its sheer volume and pace, and Bethesda because, despite me not caring one jot about more Doom and Quake, they delivered an engaging amusing and down to earth brief, and with Rage 2 and Fallout 76 just around the corner, there was content to care about.
EA as always was shit, however, Sony was the biggest disappointment, scrappy, no surprises and Spider-Man has lost its sheen. Square Enix was just lazy.
Generally, I think this year E3 has been poor compared to what has come before, maybe it’s the leaks, whether that be social media, retailers or the specialist press, or that nowadays even the publishers release information early. Sadly it takes away some of the magic. E3 was like Christmas as a kid, exciting opening all those presents, staying up really late, or getting up really early. Now it’s like Christmas as an adult, you either know what you’re going to get or you receive fuck all.
My game of the show, however, has to be Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, maybe more of the same but I like it.