This year was my second E3 and after last year and the mess I had with schedule I knew going into this years show I was not going to make the same mistake again. I was lucky enough to attend 5 of the press events in person, Bethesda, Xbox, EA, PlayStation and PC and had a special function to watch Nintendo and Square Enix, so even before the show floor opened, I had lots more to do and I loved every minute of it.
For me, the trip was a flying visit, I landed in LA the Saturday before it started and left the Thursday night, I had very little time to sit around the hotel, which I was thankful for as it was not that great, but I never felt to rushed or short of time. Last year my schedule had me bouncing all over the convention centre, one appointment in one hall, the next in the other and then back again, it caused no end of problems with delays and missed appointments, so this year I made sure to get everything sorted as best as I could, which meant for the show I was able to play a grand total of 37 titles over the course of the show and another 8 were shown behind closed doors.
With the 45 games I was exposed to, not adding time in for moving around, eating or the other stuff, I averaged a new game every 28 minutes at the show, which is quite a lot and while some hands on time was short, others were long, but in almost every case it was fun. Of course, there are a lot of other sites that cover E3, which is nothing new to me, in fact before attending that is how I got my news, but now I can weigh in on what made an impact on me, what games impressed and what games did not. While the show for me was great, meeting people and having a blast, E3 is about the games after all, so here are the best and worst bits of the show, by me.
Horizon Zero Dawn was a game I had not even heard a rumour of before going to the show, I was invited before the show to check out an unannounced title for PlayStation 4, but at the time that could have been anything. Of course Sony blew the doors off their press event with Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue 3 and Horizon reveals, but for me it was all about Horizon.
I am not a big Final Fantasy fan, so the remake held little interest for me and Shenmue was never a game I played, but Horizon peaked my interest from that trailer. What were those creatures? Is this on a different earth? Why are they cavemen? It has been sometime since I have had a lot of question from a trailer, which ended with some gameplay, which completed the deal that I must know more and after being able to get details about the game from the director and seeing it played in front of me, there was little doubt that I would be owning this game the moment it releases.
It was not one element that impressed me, it was the scope of the world, knowing that the mountains in the background of the video are places you can explore, or perhaps it was that the valley the demo takes place in, is only one area of the world. Perhaps it was the giant robot creatures roaming the world, or the interesting take on the future of our planet, all these elements combined to prove that games are really amazing experiences and I can’t wait for this one.
Best Game I Played
E3 is known for those massive moments where things are revealed in a fury of sound, light and snippets of game play, but for me it's being allowed to play the game that can sell it and this year Star Wars Battlefront did that no problem.
This game was no surprise, we knew it was coming, heck it was E3 2013 that it was announced and teased again last year and with the reveal at Star Wars Celebration a few months earlier, E3 was going to be the place where it either proved itself or it flopped and with my time with the game proved that it was so good, that when the battle ended and I was congratulated for placing first on my team by one of the developers, I left the demo area with a smile on my face.
A lot of people are saying sure it's going to be ok, it is Star Wars Battlefield, but some people don’t realise that Battlefront started out as a mod for the original Battlefield 1942 and LucasArts saw potential in that mod and decided to make a game from it. So having DICE take on the reigns of this newest version had me excited, as their history has proven they know shooters, but in every interview, every video, you can hear nothing but respect for the Star Wars universe and from the blaster rifle I wielded in battle, to the AT-ST that stomped me flat, the level of attention is amazing.
If this game supported VR, it would be as close to stepping into the world of Star Wars that any of us would ever get.
Best Game I Saw Played
While getting hands on with games at E3 is great fun, there are times when it's just not possible for whatever reason to get hands on, but that is where the hands off demo’s come into play. These sessions are run by developers and take you through the game from their point of view, why this does this, why that decision was made and while I had a few great sessions, the one I was most impressed with was Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands.
The other games I saw demoed were all great, but they were very scripted solo experiences but Ghost Recon was open and 4 players and everything just clicked. The Ghost Recon games have always held a place in my heart, so hearing that a new game was coming was good news for me, but then being able to see in action was a treat that I still savour. The session was led by two of the developers and had 4 players running about the world and when they started, you could have been fooled into thinking they were on different parts of the planet, but then seeing the team come together to complete the mission was so good.
Perhaps the best part of this demo, was that even though it was 4 players, there was none of that fake chatter that some companies, like to put into their presentations. The game looks amazing and while I was not able to play it, the moment that I can I will be and Ubisoft will have to pry the controller from my hands when my time is up.
The Game That Left Me Asking What?
The Last Guardian, straight up. The game was first unveiled back in 2007 and then after that, it was radio silence, not a peep, a screenshot, nothing was heard about it for years. We had Sony telling us all the time, the game is still being made, rumours of cancellation were quashed many times and when it opened up the PlayStation press event, a single feather sent lots of people in the arena into a tizzy and I could not get why.
The game is coming to players from the team that made Ico and Shadow of the Colossus and while they were both very good games, being radio silent for so long is never a good thing. The problem that arose for me from the stage demo, was that it was only a video and it looked almost the same as the one that debuted the game, I am sure if I was to go back and compare them now, there would be some clearly different parts and of course the visual quality would be different, but from a single viewing, nothing about it screamed amazing or even noteworthy.
I know people will hate on me for this, but oh well, the game did nothing for me and I question the sanity of those who were in attendance for their reactions. We have seen and heard stories of people losing their minds over games before, Zelda is a common one, but those games are usually built over a series of years, with fans getting details and hype building. The Last Guardian had years of silence, with people claiming every E3 since, it would be there only to be let down, so while I am happy people are happy, I just don’t get why. I am excited to play the game to see what this fuss is about, but until then I will scratch my head over it.
Games of each platform I liked the best
There were a number of platforms on show at E3, from home console and PC, to hand helds and mobile devices, to a number of devices that offered up new ways of viewing games, but for this list I am going to keep to the 3 home consoles and PC.
Xbox One – I never played any of the Microsoft first party content at E3, there was no chance for me to do so, for me though, Tom Clancy’s The Division was the best Xbox One game, sure it's coming to other platforms, but I played it on Xbox One. The controls felt great, the gameplay was quite solid and while I did not get a huge amount of time with the game, I know I can’t wait to play it.
PlayStation 4 – I played quite a number of games on PlayStation 4, it had more third party games on it than Xbox One, but for me it was Ratchet & Clank. First thing I noticed was how good the game looked, it's as if I was able to control a Pixar movie, but the thing I liked most was it felt good, I died a bit, but I knew that they were my fault. I enjoyed my time with it and really think that it's a series that needs to return.
Wii U – Well, this one is going to be obvious, Mario Tennis.. No kidding. Super Mario Maker. This game that lets you make other games is just so easy to use that I can see myself making so many levels just for the fun of it, even if I never share them. I can’t wait to download other levels from other players to add to my collection so I can play them as well. The best part though, it is something I have wanted to do since Super Mario Bros 3 and now it's happening.
PC – The best game on PC that I had the chance to play at E3, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and while my time was super short, I died like within a few minutes of starting, after the developer demo I had before hand, I felt a connection to the game, a desire to play some more, to learn about bullet drag and the impacts the weather can have on a bullet. No other game at the show had me wanting to learn anything about a subject more than Sniper and while the game is not due out for some time, I can’t wait to see what the team does.
Games I Want the Most!
Fallout 4, Doom, Halo 5 Guardians, Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End, Super Mario Maker, Star Fox Zero, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Ratchet & Clank, Star Wars Battlefront, Disney Infinity 3.0, Guitar Hero Live, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Transformers Devastation, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, Mad Max, Just Cause 3, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Horizon Zero Dawn and many, many more.
While I was so dead after E3, my body ached, I caught a nice batch of Con Flu and had a weeks’ worth of things to write about, but even after all of that, it was worth going to and I can’t wait for next year’s show, but in the meantime, bring on the games.