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E3 2018: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Waking up in the aftermath of E3 2018 I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. This, in part, was because my holiday had come to an end and work was looming over my head like a big bastard cloud of despair but mainly it was the fact that not one conference really blew me away like it had in previous years. Over the past five years E3 has become a staple event in my life, booking time away from work under the guise of spending ‘quality’ time with the family when really it allows me to stay up all night drinking, waiting and watching every last announcement with bated breath.

There wasn’t a massive amount of shocks this year and it was all outweighed by the missing in action titles or those reveals that were truly unexpected. There are simply too many leaks, rumours and games that get teased years before they are in a state to be released. I don’t entirely blame the developers for this, it is the connected world we are living in today. It also doesn’t help that we are already being told that the PlayStation and Xbox are at the end of their life cycles, which was clearly evident with Sony’s poor show and lack of surprise titles this time around. Now that doesn’t mean the games in production are poor, the likes of The Last of Us 2 will undoubtedly be one of the greatest forms of entertainment ever realised but it has been on the cards for some time now. I think the best way to give an overview of this years E3 is simple so let’s look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

The Good

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a free download releasing on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam, sixteen days after it’s announcement, on 26th June. You play Chris, a 10-year old boy who dreams of adventure. The game will roughly take around 2 hours to complete and coming from developer Dontnod it has echoes of Life is Strange about it. As the trailer ended it was made clear that the adventure was indeed set in the same world and would serve as a precursor to the Life is Strange sequel that will give you glimpse into the brand-new story… but only if you’re clever enough to piece the clues together.

Nintendo for the most did well, a good number of releases including the much-loved return of Mario Party which was probably the only game I really didn’t see coming. Overcooked 2, Octopath Traveler, Pokemon have all piqued my curiosity and Fortnite will at the very least be tested finally. I’ll throw in Ubisoft’s excellent looking Donkey Kong DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle into this grouping also.

Indie title Tunic is a day one purchase for me, it wreaks of cuteness and looks like an isometric foxy version of Zelda. Releasing on Xbox One and Steam I cannot wait to pick it up and play.

Our first real look at the Resident Evil 2 was impressive and although it is yet another Resi remake on yet another format the source material is good enough that if done correctly it will be a monster hit all over again.

And finally a sprinkle of the usual AAA titles and blockbusters which all majorly impressed, Horizon 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts being my picks.

The Bad

EA, EA Play 2018 was really quite poor and their offering has been this way for years now, unfortunately. Considering they are one of the biggest publishers in the world I just don’t know what planet they are on, do they even really care or are they just to dumb to realise. The presentation was awkward and bland offering the usual sporting updates, a new Battlefield, a Battlefront update, Command & Conquer on mobile and a few others. There was a tease of a new Star Wars game which had a crap title alongside a couple of their ‘indie’ releases but really nothing stood out.

I felt let down in a couple of ways by Nintendo and it really is hard for me to say that after such a great year plus with my Switch. Starting the direct with the utter mess known as Daemon X Machina, a mech-based game supported by some awful music, was a poor choice but at least it meant that things could only get better. Secondly, the amount of time given to Super Smash Bros Ultimate was more than a little excessive. Yes it will be a great, great game and the roster is like no other but I’m not sure anyone even needs to play the game now.

The Ugly

Gears Pop! a mobile crossover game that nobody expected or wanted, much like C&C. I really don’t get the whole Funko Pop figures thing and I really don’t see the need for Gears on mobile with these freaky headed characters. No doubt this will be a smash hit but count me out, I lost interest in the franchise a long time ago even though there are a total of three games in the pipeline.

Honourable mentions

I also wanted to give a massive shout out to the Ubisoft dancing Panda, it really pulled off that hat and cane combo. Yes Ubisoft normally start off with the Just Dance bonanza and I couldn’t give a damn about the game but it was entertaining nonetheless. I mean the game even gets a release on the Wii, yes the Wii, it’s 2018, can you believe it.

In closing

As gamers we are in a strange place, the end of a generation draws near for the Sony powerhouse, with the Xbox trying to cling on, while Nintendo is only just getting going. I can see that most of the games in development today will be the last but quickly port onto the new platforms early in their life cycle much as we have seen this time around. With so few fresh games announced everyone is likely to be well into the development of the next, next-gen content. I’m looking forward to playing a lot of quality games over the next twelve months. Let’s hope E3+1, the sequel, is better and see you all next year… same place, same time.

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