This year’s E3 has been… in a word… underwhelming. I thought it would be a year where many of the publishers flaunt their exciting new IPs, herald glorious returns from series pass and push their awesome machines in our faces, and we would all happily throw money at our screens. But that was not to be. Instead, everything was… business as usual. Some conferences saw great improvements from last year, others did not perform as well. But overall, it was a decent experience, I just wished we had something more, given that the amount of fruit that seemed ripe for harvest.
I had a hard time ranking the conferences this year. Aside from Bethesda and maybe EA, I felt that everyone performed at a similar level. And to be honest, I felt like the top four conference could easily be rearranged in any order. I’ll give a brief recap of each conference and then end with my overall thoughts.
And before we begin, do note that these are MY OPINIONS. So don’t get up in arms if you don’t agree.
Nintendo’s conference starts with a brief Reggie speech which launches into a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 trailer. I’ve yet to play a Xeno game yet, but the trailer does look good. Sidenote: Monolith Soft and Monolith Productions always has me confused. The former is the developers of Xenoblade and the latter is the developers of Shadow of Mordor and are totally unrelated.
A Kirby trailer followed soon after and then a Pokkén Tournament DX trailer was shown. And then they just casually dropped two megatons on us. A Core Pokemon RPG and Metroid Prime 4 are announced to be in development. They both look like they’re going to take sometime, but finally, some Samus love and a CORE POKEMON RPG on a HOME CONSOLE!! Sweet.
This was followed by a Yoshi trailer, which reminded a lot of Tearaway Unfolded and then Fire Emblem Warriors. Nice to see Omega Force and Nintendo working together. I’m not really that interested in the game itself, but all these musou game with popular IPs could mean more budget for Dynasty Warriors 9.
The Breath of the Wild DLCs were a disappointment. Though I’m still interested in the main game itself. It’s the top reason for me to get a Switch at the moment, but I’m not completely sold on it yet. The pro controller is too damn expensive.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was shown a trailer with a release date which is followed by a Rocket League trailer. Really excited about the first one, what with it being a Strategy RPG game. Still can’t believe Ubisoft managed to get a hold of Mario. Those years of developing exclusives and bringing ports to Wii U must have paid off.
Last but not least was Super Mario Odyssey. Once again I was bamboozled by the start of their trailer. Last time I thought it was Splatoon. This time I thought it was Monster Hunter. The hat possession ability really sounds fun to me. Though later they revealed that only specific characters can be possessed, which drove down the hype a little. Still interested to see how the game plays out.
I really, really had a hard time choosing between Nintendo and Ubisoft but I ultimately went with Nintendo here, because their announcements give me the chills just that much more. Nintendo needed a stellar conference to gain some ground on their competitors, and I feel like they did a good job of it. Although it helps that their competitors deep the ball a bit. Though a lot of their big announcements that I’m hyped for aren’t coming out soon (Pokemon Switch and Metroid Prime 4), they go a long way in making me want a Switch.
They also showed off some Odyssey gameplay and a Metroid Samus Returns trailer in the Treehouse following the conference, which was really weird to me. They could have included it in the main conference. I wonder if it has anything to do with it being on the 3DS. Seems like the conference itself was focused on the Switch.
Ubisoft kickstarted their conference with a HUGE surprise. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was both unexpected and looked to be very interesting. XCom gameplay with combos, Mario with Rabbids and that Sassy Rabbid Peach? What’s not to like? Also, watching Yves and Miyamoto share the stage is something I never thought I would ever see, and it’s freaking awesome.
We were then given more info on Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Still don’t like the campy name, and their definition of “Ancient” Egypt is pretty generous (it’s set in the Ptolemaic Egypt aka Cleopatra’s Egypt), but it’s still an interesting time period to be in. We might even get to see Caesar even though I was expecting Imhotep and Djoser. The gameplay seems to have improved slightly, mostly on the combat side, and the addition of RPG elements is always welcomed. But, the showcase in Microsoft’s conference was far better than what they had here. They just went and go to some offstage and show it on a TV. Weird.
The Crew 2 trailer soon followed, introducing more vehicles types like boats and planes. Honestly I’m more excited about NFS: Payback at this point. South Park the Fractured but Whole trailer was kept short and simple. Can’t wait to get my hands on this game. It’s been delayed since like forever.
Transference, a VR game was shown next. It’s a very confusing trailer. Although Elijah Wood is in it…. So… Gonna check it out. Skull and Bones trailer was next. It’s made by Ubisoft Singapore, which excites me, but it’s looking like players will only control ships. No visits to ports and the likes. Seems like Ubisoft received the wrong memo when people say they want an Assassin-less Black Flag game. Port visits and digging up lost treasures are part of the fun.
The annual goofy/weird Just Dance 2018 live performance came next, which feels just as goofy and weird as it did last year. South Park Phone Destroyer was shown next. It’s a mobile “free”-to-play title. Seems like South Park gave into the dark side, which is funny, considering one of their episodes mocked the business model.
Starlink Battle for Atlas looks like Skylanders but on steroids and with spaceships instead. Feels like it will do great with the right crowd, but unfortunately, I’m not part of it. Just thinking about how much those toys cost makes me cry. Steep: Road to the Olympics was next. I’m surprised that there was an expansion for this game. I didn’t realize it performed well.
Far Cry 5 was shown next and honestly, my hype for this game has been dialed back a bit since the initial announcement. That hand of subtlety that this game will need doesn’t seem to be present, though gameplay wise still seems like same old Far Cry, not that I’m complaining. Plus there seems to be some element of NPC team ala Metal Gear Solid V in play too and the fact that there’s a third person mode with character creation is great news too. Oh and it also seems air battles are a thing, which is always exciting.
Last and by far the biggest announcement in the conference was Beyond Good and Evil 2. It was epic. A game hyped for 15+ years has finally been announced. There was such as an emotional moment on stage as well, as Yves Guilmont, CEO of Ubisoft congratulated Michel Ancel, the game’s director. Except, as it turns out, the game hasn’t started development yet. It’s just a proof of concept at this point. Which is… very Square Enix of them. Ubisoft usually does a good job of announcing games and then releasing them soon. Come to think of it, Nintendo had two announcements in the same vein too. I hope they aren’t thinking that since Square seems to be getting away with it, they can too. Also, Michel Ancel’s involvement with this makes me fear for the future of Wild.
The main reason why I didn’t give Ubisoft the top spot was because of news that came out after the conference. Especially Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Skulls and Bones, both which really got me excited until I learned more about them. And Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry ditching the mini map isn’t a good news for me too. All it’ll do is make me tab open the map screen all the more, breaking the flow of gameplay that much more often. They should have gave us an option to toggle the mini map instead.
Overall, this year’s conference was a great improvement over last year’s, which went far too long and had ridiculous skits and unnecessary fluff. The amount of developers and heartfelt tears on stage was really refreshing, considering how the other conferences chose to went the other way, but I do miss Aisha Tyler though. She so synonymous with Ubisoft at E3 that I thought it was a foregone conclusion she would host this year’s event again. Hope they bring her back again next year.
Ubisoft really needed a great showing this year and I think they delivered. Hopefully, it will help staved off a potential hostile takeover by Vivendi.
The conference kicked off with the official Xbox One X reveal. Not a huge fan of the name. Especially when it sounds so close to Xbox One S. I can just imagine the frustration of retail stores when they’re confused with the S and the X. And for USD499, it’s is a pretty great deal, considering the specs but it’s way out of my budget. If I’m ever going to get an Xbox One, it will probably be the vanilla version. Forza 7 followed up with a trailer than an exclusive look at a new car by Porsche. Yeah, not the place for this, Microsoft. Not the place.
Metro Exodus looked awesome. It’s a great series and I’m glad to see it make another return. I’m thinking of picking up the books. Assassins Creed Origins trailer was next, followed by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is really gaining attention on the PC space and is making the leap to console.
Deep Rock Galactic looks interesting enough that I’ll keep an eye on it. It looks like a co-op scavenging, surviving game, kind of like Minecraft but with dwarves. State of Decay 2 is one of my highly anticipated games. Really loved the first game and the second one looks like it’s made huge strides since.
The Darwin Project was a disappointment. It started off looking like a survival horror game, but turned into an arena battle game that’s starting to feel oversaturated. Minecraft had their time on stage announcing 4K update and crossplay functionalities.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z trailer was next followed by Black Desert Online. I’m still miffed that they decided to go pay to play in the NA region. They were free to play in Korea. The Last Night is a good looking cyberpunk game, I’m really interested in it. The Artful Escape looks weird. But it’s published by Annapurna though. I thought they were a film studio. Code Vein wrapped up this quick rapid fire section, with no hint as to what it is, though I’ve heard is an anime-lized Souls style game.
Sea of Thieves is looking REALLY good. I really hope there’s a single player version with AI NPCs around. That’s the game that I want. There’s a brief Tacoma trailer that does nothing but remind people it exists. Super Lucky’s Tale trailer teased people into thinking it was Conker for a second before letting everyone down. Cuphead had a short and sweet launch date trailer. Just what I wanted.
Crackdown 3 makes a reappearance with Terry Crews at the helm. There’s just something about Terry Crews that fits into the style of the game. Though the game itself didn’t look good. It felt stuck between Phil Spencer and Don Mattick’s Xbox. The “cloud calculated destruction” weren’t showcased at all, though they have stated it will only be in the multiplayer, which again feels weird. Wouldn’t latency between players cause issue?
An ID@Xbox montage followed with a series of indie games. And then Ashen was shown. I have no idea how this game plays out, but I’m loving the style and tone of it. This was followed by Life is Strange Before the Storm. Hoo boy. I don’t know where to start with this. A different studio and a different voice actress for Chloe? Bold move. It feels like a stopgap piece, to be honest, since Dontnod has come out to say their working on the true sequel. Still, Chloe and Rachel’s relationship is going to be interesting one to explore.
I have complicated feelings about Middle Earth Shadow of War. On one hand, it looks like a great game. On the other hand, it shits all over Tolkien’s legacy. I mean, I like Bruze, he’s a fun character but can you really imagine a Tolkien Orc talking like that? Urgh. If only they ripped away the Lord of the Rings parts of the game.
Ori and the Will of Wisps looks as beautiful and heart wrenching as the last one, not a game I’m going to be able to beat since I suck at it. And then came the biggest part of the show, Xbox OG Backwards Compatibility. Having never own any Xbox consoles, this is HUGE for me. It means I can just pick up an Xbox One and play through all their library. The only limiting factor would be the game’s availability, which I feel won’t really be a problem if they’re on the Arcade.
Anthem closed the show and it looks stunning. You can see where all the talent of the BioWare team really is at. I’m also supremely disappointed that it will be a Destiny-esque game. All that story writing talent at BioWare and they’re going to make it into this. I just… *sigh*
Microsoft had a good conference but they really didn’t do a good job of selling the Xbox One X. With the price and having no real game that showed off the ability of the console, it’s not that appealing to me. It’s just a buffed up Xbox One at this point, and with a likely Gen 9 console coming as early as 2020, it’s way too expensive for me. Unless of course, Xbox One X will be able to play their Gen 9 console, which isn’t certain at this point. I really wish they had shown Halo or Gears of War or even a new IP to coincide with X’s launch.
Other than that, there isn’t much to dislike about the conference. The pacing was good, had a bunch of new games and there weren’t really any awkward moments and technical difficulties, but at the same time, there weren’t any exclusives or huge feature to shout home about.
The Sony conference had a pretty weird start. There was a montage, and then 2 ads before stopping abruptly and showing the hall. I suppose the montage was meant to mark the end of the preshow? From there however, they picked up with a nice sitar quintet with a watershow before kicking right into Uncharted the Lost Legacy. The game is looking more like a spinoff than a DLC at this point and that’s awesome. I’m completely onboard with Chloe, but I’m still not sold on Nadine.
We have a quick look at Horizon Zero Dawn the Frozen Wilds DLC next which reminds me I still need to finish the game. This was followed by a chunky section of Days Gone gameplay. I’m still not 100% sure where I stand on this game. On one hand, it’s looking pretty neat. I mean, that zombie bear. On the other hand, zombies and nothing really standing out for me.
Next came a short speech by Shawn Layden, followed with a Monster Hunter World trailer. Not a fan of Monster Hunter games, or grindy, loot hunting games in general, so this is a pass from me. Shadow of the Colossus remake trailer was next. I couldn’t play the remastered game because of the clunky camera that kept giving me headaches. Hopefully the controls will be much better this time around.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite is looking shabby. The face looks off and… I don’t know. It definitely isn’t even close to something like Injustice 2. Call of Duty WWII was next. It looks… okay I guess? Definitely feels like a step up from recent titles, but I feel like it’s about a year too late. Battlefield 1 just feels a lot superior to this.
Next came the VR section, which started with a Skyrim VR trailer. Star Child was then followed up with Inpatient, Final Fantasy XV Monster of the Deep, Bravo Team and Moss. No idea what they were thinking with a FFXV fishing game. Star Child looks weird and Supermassive Games is a hardworking, VR enthusiast studio, with Inpatient and Brave Team. Plus Hidden Agenda, which wasn’t shown here, but maybe the best of the bunch. Moss looks great, and is the most likely game I would play out of the bunch, if I had a VR.
A God of War trailer followed. While the trailer itself was great, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by it. We didn’t really glean much useful information about the game. Sure the World Serpent was great, but I wanted more details.
Detroit Become Human was next. It was a similar trailer as last year’s except it’s about another set of characters. Also, is it just me or is Marcus not an android? I didn’t see any signs of the blue circle on his temple. Destiny 2 trailer came next with reveals on some exclusive content PlayStation players get. Not a fan of both game and the business practice. Sony is slowly sinking back to pre PS3 attitude, especially with the news that they aren’t allowing crossplay on their console to other consoles.
The conference closed with a lengthy Spider-Man gameplay trailer. It looked great. Digging the Arkham style mechanics and the swinging is okay, but it was definitely not a disappointment. I know a lot of people are criticizing the QTE, but I’ve never been against it.
There were some cool things in this conference, but overall, it was just a disappointment. There weren’t many big new announcements. Rumors are that they are holding back. Sucker Punch’s New IP and Bloodborne 2 among others I suppose. Not sure what they were thinking with that. And then they had this weird preshow where they showed a bunch of games. GT Sports, Crash Bandicoot and Hidden Agenda, for example, would have done well in the actual conference too. And where was Dreams? Things don’t look good for that game.
I think my worst fears for this presentation has been realized. They went in all the way in on last year’s style. What worked with last year’s rapid fire, few presenters style were the new announcements and more importantly lengthy gameplay sections. God of War, Horizon, Detroit and Resident Evil all showed a good amount of gameplay at last year’s conference. I felt like they should have brought out someone to come out and talk this year. For example, having Cory Barlog come out and talk about the Norse aspect of God of War would have been cool. I saw quite a few people who were surprised that the game had the World Serpent.
I felt like doing PSX is stunting their E3. Imagine Lost Legacy and The Last of Us Part 2 being unveiled in this conference. It would have been the thing needed to kick it up a gear. It just feels so underwhelming and I have a feeling Sony came out of this E3 with some losses to their reputation, both in terms of their conference and in regards to crossplay.
One thing I do have to praise Sony for is the continued support for PSVR. It looks like they aren’t about to give up on it just yet. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of the Vita.
EA’s conference began with a drum line and then move right into Madden 18: Longshot trailer which showcased the story mode for the next Madden NFL game. It looks a lot like how the Journey was from FIFA 17, and that was a disappoint. Still the trailer itself was pretty grand.
Next came Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar DLC trailer along with some map packs, one of which feature night mode. Personally, I’ve only dabbled a little with Battlefield and I’m not much of a FPS online multiplayer guy, so while I’m interested to see how they portrayed the Eastern Front, I’m not that into the game itself. And then there was of course a section on EA Esports, which honestly, doesn’t require repeating every single year. You would think they would have learned, but they started the conference so well.
FIFA 18 trailer was next, featuring Ronaldo doing some mocap. Peter Moore was absent but the Men in Blazers got some stage time. Pretty stoke to see them, but I think it was really unnecessary. The Journey: Hunter Returns was next. I know The Journey in FIFA 17 sucked, but I’m still interested in trying this out. Sounds like Alex Hunter will have a huge transfer fall through and he’ll have to deal with the hate from his current club’s fans. But sounds like it will be a one season thing again. Sigh.
The Need for Speed Payback section started awkwardly, but the game itself looked great. As long as they tune down the slow-mo takedowns. It’s looking like it will be the Fast and the Furious: the Game with heist and all that. And totally I’m game for that.
Next came the highlight of the conference A Way Out. It’s Josef Fares’s (creator of Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons) next game and it’s looking pretty good. I’m a bit sad that it will be co-op only but the endless possibilities with the story telling is what gets me hyped. Imagine getting attached to the character you control and having to betray your friend to get what your character desires. Imagine going your separate ways but the game still continuing? Imagine you can’t get through a section of the game because you need the help of the other character and the conversation that follows after you’ve betrayed your friend? EA Originals really has a game with great potential on their hands. Helps that Fares is such a likable person.
The SEED thing was a bit weird but I guess that’s for the shareholders and investors. And then they teased Anthem BioWare’s new IP, only to tell us that more will be shown at Microsoft’s conference. Which was… weird. I think this is the first time we’ve seen something like this. EA should have kept Anthem’s reveal for themselves.
NBA Live 18 came next with some gimmicky, poorly explained The One thing. I don’t get what’s special about it, and although the street ball section does appeal to me, I’m probably going to stick to NBA 2K18. I think it’s time for EA to let NBA go. Their attempts thus far has proved futile.
This was followed by EA’s Play to Give program which seems like a “look at what we did, we’re good people” section. They talked about raising money for charity and then proceeded to give away some “free” games through their EA Access program. Something like a EA Humble Bundle would make more sense.
The conference closed with a 30 minute Star Wars Battlefront II section. It was long. It didn’t need to be part of the conference. They should have done something like what they did to Battlefield 1 last year. Show the game session after the conference has ended. But, the game itself does look to be an upgrade from the first game. Having single player is nice, but the multiplayer still feels… off? Not that it really matters to me, since I won’t play multiplayer anyway.
This year’s conference was a HUGE improvement over last year’s fiasco but compared to other conferences, it just wasn’t up to par. There were a lot of repetitions. They would say something, show a trailer showcasing that same thing and then summarize the whole thing again. This was especially obvious at the NBA Live section. It was frustrating. They took the music intro from Sony, why couldn’t they have done to the same to the rest of their conference? (Not that Sony did a good job of that this year.)
But more importantly, where was Visceral’s Star Wars game? Where was Respawn’s Star Wars game? A short reminder would have been nice, especially when they spent 30 minutes talking about Star Wars. And there was no mention of Mass Effect Andromeda or any possible DLCs. Feels like they’re trying to sweep it under the rug. Skate 4 also wasn’t in the show, if it even exist. Seriously, there’s not much competition for EA in this area, especially since last year’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater was a huge letdown.
Bethesda’s conference opened up with a video about their employees and their children it’s endearing and nice start to the conference. This was followed with Bethesdaland thing and a brief view of last year’s release by Pete Hines. The Bethesdaland thing was… cool at first. It had that Fallout oldies charm, but the longer the conference went and the more of it we see, the more sick of it I got. It just dragged on for far too long.
Two VR titles were announced – Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR. Both make me feel like I want to barf just watching the trailers. As interested as I am in VR, I just don’t think I’ll be able to handle it Next came Elder Scrolls Online with the old trailer and some reactions from YouTubers mixed into it. I guess they were trying to do what Sony did to Final Fantasy VII Remake, but it didn’t really resonate with me. Maybe Morrowind fans would have some kick out of that.
Creation Club program I’m highly skeptical of. I like playing modded Skyrim and Fallout, and I feel the mod creators do deserve money for their work, but at the same time, what Bethesda proposed before was just taking something free and monetizing it. This sounds like it could be different, like they’ll be supporting the developers and curating the mods, which is good BUT we’ll have to wait for more concrete information to be sure.
Elder Scrolls Legends: Heroes of Skyrim was shown next. I wanted to play the game since last year, but never really got into it. There just something off putting about the two lanes and the card art in general. I think I’m be sticking to Gwent for the foreseeable future.
Skyrim for Switch was shown next. With amiibo integration for Legend of Zelda equipment. I don’t know about you, but I feel like Skyrim really doesn’t need to be shown so often. It’s 5 years old at this point and it just feels like Bethesda just keeps milking it, especially when recent announcement suggests that they aren’t working on Elder Scrolls VI.
Dishonored 2 Death of the Outsider DLC trailer was shown next. Dishonored has always look interesting to me. I’m going to have to keep it up eventually. Some day. Hopefully. Quake Champions Esports trailer was shown, even though the game isn’t out of the beta yet. I feel like the community should decide whether a game is Esport worthy or not, not the other away around. And then BJ Blazkowicz showing up at the end… I don’t feel like Quake is supposed to feature cameos from other characters. It’s like Gordon Freeman popping up in DotA 2. Just feels wrong.
And then finally something new. The Evil Within 2 cinematic trailer. The trailer is amazing, though a little on the longer side and the release date is kinda appropriate. Friday the 13th October. Wolfenstein II The New Colossus followed after that. It kicked off with a few weird clips that a weird cat is watching before transitioning into the actual game. The way it’s done reminds me a lot of Fallout, which isn’t that bad of a thing. It’s about time I try and finish up the first game.
It’s subpar. Last’s year conference, while not the best, was good. This year… it’s lacking a lot. There weren’t any surprises or huge announcements, which isn’t really Bethesda’s fault I guess. I think Evil Within 2 has been leaked for a long time, but New Colossus was definitely something they teased last year. A new IP would have been announce (Starfield), or at least a hint at what Bethesda Game Studio is working on. Where the hell is Todd Howard? I mean at this point, I would take a Skyrim Shelter type game on mobile. There’s just not a lot for me in this conference, with probably Wolfenstein II being the highlight for me.
There’s a Devolver Digital conference. Which was weird. I guess there’s some sort of humor in parodying conferences and making fun of certain business practices, but when it’s too in your face, it sort of becomes a parody of itself. And I don’t remember any games that were shown there. So that’s not good.
The PC Gaming Show has some nice announcements. We get to see some Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. There’s also an Age of Empires: Definitive Edition in the works, which is nice, though I really want a fourth game instead.
Agents of Mayhem had a new trailer with some gameplay. I wasn’t expecting driving, so that’s good to know. Really looks like they’re going all in as a Saints Row spinoff, with Gat as an agent. Him being a preorder bonus is not cool though. Vampyr had some gameplay shown and the story looks intriguing. The animations though… seems like Dontnod hasn’t worked on it since Life is Strange, which is odd, when Remember Me had pretty good animations.
Kingdom Hearts 3 had a new trailer and there was also Dissidia NT. No release date for the former and the latter still has that incredibly clunky UI from the arcade version. And no news of any Avengers game or Tomb Raider from Square Enix. A Hat in Time also had a trailer out. It’s been a LONG time since I last heard about this game and it’s looking like it has had some nice upgrades. Still, the 3D platform market has been getting flooded of late, I wonder how well it will perform against titles like Mario Odyssey and Super Lucky’s Tale.
Those are my thoughts on E3. Took me almost a week to write this out, but it’s nice to finally get my thoughts down, if only to read it in the future. I enjoyed rereading my last E3’s recap before this year’s. So I hope I’ll feel the same way next year.
Did you watched any E3 streams this year? Which was your favorite and what games are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments down below.