E3 2016 was... Pretty good! I already talked about its end result in the latest and greatest episode of the unpredictable TAY Podcast (tm), but I also wanted to do an article evaluating what was on display for the couchbound attendee.
I am excluding the PC gaming show, however... I think it’s a great show, and I hope it returns every year, but the format is a little more casual and talkshow-like than the normal promotional buzz of E3, so it’s harder to talk about in the same article.
Last: Electronic Arts
EA is... Probably not aiming for me as their target audience. And that’s fine! But to evaluate them form a totally subjective and hilariously biased point of view, they were dull as dishwater. Madden and FIFA are the most boring sports products EA makes. Hockey? I can get behind hockey. If they had unveiled Joe Pavelski as the cover athlete, that would have been the highlight of the show. But they didn’t show hockey at all. They showed Fe, an indie game that looks a lot like other indie games. They showed Titanfall 2, which actually looks pretty okay, but has a boring, bland art style and overall design. A lot of people like Battlefield 1, but I’m miffed it doesn’t focus on the Balkans and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, easily the most interesting region during WW1; instead, it focuses on an imaginary fantasy story where Americans are involved, and not just at the last second.
But all that said, EA appeals to someone. Who? It’s likely not someone reading this article. But it’s someone.
Game of Show: Titanfall 2.
Ubisoft is a weird situation too. They basically only make one kind of game now - open world collectathon. All of their franchises are slowly morphing into a Marvel Cinematic Universe sort of “I’ve seen this before, several times,” kind of boring. South Park looked great though - there’s a special hilarity that their best franchise this year would never have been theirs if THQ didn’t bite the dust. Trials of the Blood Dragon looked at least original, so I expect all its developers to be layed off by 2018. I think they had some VR too?
Lana continues to be a bad host at an overall cynical event. But they did have South Park, and they’re at least trying to hide their corporate cynicism. Bonus points!
Game of Show: South Park: The Fractured But Whole
I know Nintendo didn’t technically have a show, and I feel kinda bad assessing them as such, but enough people were excited about them to warrant a rank. Basically, Nintendo showed Zelda and Pokemon and nothing else. They didn’t talk about the NX (although I suspect the version of Zelda in all their footage was running on that hardware and not the Gamecube). There were a few other minor little games, but those aren’t really being talked about. Zelda looks pretty great - if the devs are honest about letting you skip all the crafting bullshit and play the game at whatever pace you please, I’m super excited about this one. I was also excited about Pokemon BEFORE the show, but having now seen it, it really doesn’t seem like an upgrade over XY in any way. It’s more of the same. I like that same, but... Eh. I wanted something more. Hopefully they at least scale the difficulty up for kids and adults that aren’t dumb-dumbs.
Also subtracting points for failing to announce Pokemon Snap 2 and Mega Man Legends 3. Make these games ffs.
Game of Show: Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Bethesda is where the shows start into the “good” territory. They had a lot of interesting stuff. Prey’s proof-of-concept trailer looked amazing, though I am waiting some gameplay footage there. Dishonoured 2 looks like an improvement over the first one. Quake exists. Sequel to The New Order was teased. Really, the only things Bethesda did wrong were, well... Related to its flagship products. Elder Scrolls Online is mostly forgetten. There’s a Hearthstone thing in there too. And an HD remaster of a game with mods. The Fallout stuff? I swear, these guys actively spite the fans of Fallout. The RPG elements of an RPG series have been completely stripped out in favour of Minecraft and The Sims. Ugh. The people behind this series have no idea what they’re doing.
But overall, Bethesda is pretty okay. I hope they bring Obsidian back for Fallout 5.
Game of Show: Prey, but not the one from 2005 with the Native guy.
This was a great showing if you like fighting dragons with headphones on. Microsoft showed a lot of great stuff this year, and they’re super close to convincing me to buy the XBone. ReCore looks amazing - it’s Lost Planet and Mega Man and Metroid Prime all loaded into Dog from Half-Life 2 and it’s just the best thing. I need it. Scalebound looks cool too. They showed another Gears, another Gran Turismo, another Rare thing that people are uneasy about... But overall, very very good show from Micosoft. It’s the best they’ve put on in a very, very long time, and possibly ever.
It’s stupid that I can’t just buy ReCore, swipe a code from in the box, and download it on Windows 10. I like actually owning my games, but I don’t like paying for so many consoles.
Game of Show: ReCore
I’ll just list the games I’m interested in buying: Resident Evil 7, Crash Bandicoot remasters, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Detroit: Let’s Not Live There, Norman Fetus, Crash Bandicoot Amiibo.
Really, what else can you say?
Sony’s show was amazing overall, with a barrage of games that look great (plus a few I don’t care about, like Lego: Whatever and Game From 2007), and the VR stuff was really not interesting to anyone, but the games I listed at the top are enough for the win.
Game of Show: Resident Evil 7
SO WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS E3 THING?! TRANSPOSE YOUR THOUGHTS INTO WRITTEN WORD BY USING THE COMPUTER TYPEY BELOW.