Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? It is currently June and we’ve just experienced what can be described as the Christmas-like period for al gamers known as E3. And even though I haven’t been feeling up to doing much blogging these days, there was no way I wasn’t going to comment on the recent happenings in video game news and reveals. So what I’ll do is discuss the conferences I saw and enjoyed and talk about the pros and cons, and then highlight my favourite games below. Okay with all that out
Press Conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft & Nintendo)
With the press conferences I watched what was relevant to me, so naturally, I skipped EA because why not? I don’t play Bethesda games so I skipped that one (not that I hate them, I just don’t play their games). I’m not a PC guy so I skipped that show and since I knew most of Square Enix’s material would show up in other places I skipped that one too.
Firstly you have Microsoft, the press conference that I didn’t have much hope for, I mean I had a feeling Microsoft would show us something, but I feel like they went far and beyond with the conference just dishing out game after game after game with additional information about Game Pass, new developers they’d acquired and stuff like that. And while not all of the reveals were exclusive, the fact that they even got shown at all was really fun and compelling for the games I wanted to see. I really feel like Microsoft took what Sony did before and just blasted us with games and I loved it. And sure not all of them had immediate release dates, but to know they existed made me happy. Starting off the conference with a look at a new Halo game, Halo Infinite was pretty cool, and from there we were bombarded with game announcements with some of my favourites being the super cool-looking Sekio: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Cuphead DLC, Jump Force and the gorgeous-looking Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Also seeing stuff like a new Battletoads or another Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer was cool, and Forza Horizon 4 looks absolutely amazing
Ubisoft was also really good, well, for the stuff I liked anyway. The way they started with the Just Dance sequence was strangely interesting at first but then went on for too long and after a while, I was wondering when they were gonna end it. The stuff I liked started with the Mario and Rabbids Donkey Kong DLC which looked really fun and I’m definitely considering picking it up later in the year, seeing Trials Rising was really cool as I really liked playing Trials Fusion a few years ago at uni and Beyond Good and Evil 2 used another cinematic trailer, but it was far more story-driven and cinematic and made me way more interested in the game than I was last year. Starlink: Battle for Atlas was another game I saw last year and liked the look of and the inclusion of Star Fox has only made my interest increase, but the real surprise was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I honestly wasn’t expecting the game to be all that intriguing, but I was quite taken back by the visuals, gameplay and story elements. I haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game yet but I really am curious to see how this one turns out later on in the year.
As for Sony I’m not gonna lie, they disappointed me this year. I understand what they were trying to do with their stylised presentation and wanting to focus on specific major games. But the way it was presented was pretty bad, it just felt clunky, slow and took a little while to get going. That being said, when it did focus on the games we were treated to some good stuff. Last of Us 2 looked very compelling and brutal and Death Stranding still has me with more questions than answers but I enjoyed what I saw. But the two games that really stood out to me was Ghosts of Tsushima and Spider-Man. With Tsushima, we had the cinematic trailer last year but no gameplay, but this year we saw the game in action and it looked gorgeous with such striking camera angles, lighting, beautiful art and interesting story and gameplay elements. I love samurai stuff so to have a big budget game tackle this kind of subject matter has me hooked. And then there’s Spider-Man which has only gotten better each time its been shown and even though the game’s out in September, I still found myself gushing about the new story and gameplay elements. But the real surprise was Resident Evil 2, after hearing about the remake for so long, to see it finally revealed was great.
I thought Nintendo did well, but I have seen online that the reception on the Direct was very mixed, some loved it, while many were disappointed. So let me just say this, I think some people expected a lot and were disappointed by the lack of appearances from certain games like Yoshi and Metroid Prime 4, which were both teased last year but have had no additional details. Animal Crossing fans didn’t get their new game and none of the rumours surrounding the Star Fox racing game, F-Zero and some other stuff didn’t come to light… So yeah if you’re not overly hyped for Smash and some of the other game reveals then I can understand the disappointment. That being said, I LOVE Smash Bros., and while I didn’t expect it to be covered for so long, it’s pretty much the big release of 2018 so I was delighted to see so much of it. The rest of the Direct had some cool stuff especially with Daemon x Machina, Super Mario Party, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, and third-party games in that montage. And while the leaks definitely took away a lot of the surprise, I was still happy to see Dragon Ball FighterZ and Overcooked 2 shown. The Treehouse segment really did well to highlight Pokemon Let’s Go in action and good gravy the nostalgia started to hit me hard when I saw Viridian Forest and Pewter City, the visual enhancements are insane from visual aesthetic to all the minor and major detail in the animation and art direction, but it was really the music that grabbed me, good gravy I need to get this game so I can listen to the music.
My Game Highlights
Now I’m just going to list all of the games that stood out to me or that I am super looking forward to from now until next, and this was a tough list to construct in some ways but I think I have a solid list here.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This was easily the first game to jump out at me and grab my interest. I LOVE action adventure games and samurai stuff, and the fact that it is coming from the developers of Dark Souls makes me happy and nervous. I’m excited for the gameplay that looks fast, intense, methodical and satisfying with movement and combat, but because it is coming from FromSoftware, their games are hard as hell and I dunno if I want to jump into that kind of game just to have my ass handed to me on multiple occasions. We’ll see. but the game does look hella cool.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
I think I recall seeing this game last year and I thought it looked good, but I don’t recall it looking this great. Ori and the Blind Forest is a game I’ve been wanting to play for a few years now, but this game just looks like it’s on another level with its sense of scope, colour scheme, lighting and overall beautiful and atmospheric visuals. I know graphics aren’t everything but those graphics really are stunning and it just looks even better in movement in gameplay with the combat and platforming. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one for sure.
Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my friend about Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars on the DS and how I had hoped that they’d make another game, and while this isn’t a 2D Smash Bros-like fighter like the games I just mentioned, it is a crossover fighting game featuring the noteworthy characters from Shonen Jump in an arena-based fighting game and I’m down with the idea. When I saw the trailer and saw Naruto and then the appearance of my boys Luffy, Goku and Frieza I got very giddy. Now so far from what I’ve seen this game has potential with the super over-the-top attacks, scene transitions and fast combat speed, but the movement also looks very choppy and animations needing a lot of refinement. I know this is an E3 build of the game so they have plenty of time to polish things up, I just want something fun to play with some of my favourite anime characters.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
I’ve only become a fan of the new Tomb Raider games last summer after playing the first game last summer, I still haven’t played Rise yet, but I will. Either way, I really liked what I saw of this new game especially when it comes to the story. To see Lara is such different mindset, so hasty, self-centred and causing chaos in pursuit of her own interests is very intriguing to me. Beyond that, I am curious to explore this new world that is apparently much bigger than the previous games and I really want to try out all those new combat mechanics. I was pretty stealthy when it came to playing the 2013 reboot, but there are so many more options for distraction, camouflage and stealth kills which are so much more brutal than before. I’m very excited about this one.
Kingdom Hearts 3
What can I say about Kingdom Hearts 3 that hasn’t been said already? I want it, I need it, sure it sucks that we have to wait until January 2019 to play it, but with the amount of the game that we’ve seen I think its close completion so we can actually play the bloody thing after all the years of waiting. I didn’t expect there to be multiple trailers released, I watched them all and the game still looks fantastic and crazy with the Keyblade transformations and summon abilities, but it was the new worlds revealed that really caught my eye. With Frozen it was an inevitability that it’d make its way into KH considering how big that film is not only for Disney but just in general. I think the world and characters look great, but I was actually more interested in the return to the Pirates of the Caribbean world with Jack Sparrow and all of those characters look so much prettier and the world having such a great sense of scope.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
I had heard a lot of talk about this remake for a while and I wondered when we’d get around to seeing it, I just didn’t expect that it would drop during Sony’s press conference. The game looks SO good, I don’t even play Resident Evil games, but I’ve appreciated them from afar and have waited for this particular remake for a while and man it is delivering with its modern gameplay aspects, but still keeping the spirit of the original and horror elements intact.
Ghosts of Tsushima
If it wasn’t for two more games below this would be my game of E3. Last year when this game was teased I knew it’d be something to look out for, but I did not expect something on this level of polish and detail. The game looks absolutely stunning with the lighting, camera work and fluid animation and the combat is just how I’d imagine a samurai fight going down with fights that have precision, weight and timing, what they showed in that E3 demo was so beautiful. This is the samurai game I’ve always wanted, and at the same time, it is the one I didn’t know I wanted as well. I watched a panel with some of the developers on the game and it was so insightful and you could see that these people really care about the source material they are drawing from and want to make a deeply captivating and immersive experience that pays homage to Japan and the samurai films it draws from.
Oh Spider-Man, what can be said that hasn’t been said already? It looks great, the web-slinging looks amazing, the combat looks varied and creative with what you can do upfront or in a stealthy manner. I am seriously digging the E3 trailer that showed off The Raft prison and several of Spidey’s key villains including Shocker, Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture and this mystery guy we couldn’t see off-screen. I am just in love with the game with everything I see and hear about the game, I just need it to be September so I can grab this game already haha.
Fire Emblem: Three Kingdoms
I remember when this game was announced last year and I was really hyped to see what a home console Fire Emblem game would look like after playing Awakening and Fates on 3DS and Three Kingdoms looks really good. It is essentially taking the core mechanics from the 3DS games and upgrading them not only in the visuals but with some cool extra game mechanics. The visuals look lovely and I like the new sense of scope and verticality with the environments that obviously couldn’t be done on 3DS but can be done in HD. I also love how the transition from the grid to watching your attack animations also has multiple soldiers on the battlefield with you enhancing the feeling of your fights feeling like a major battle. And I’m really liking the new squad formation attacks and special moves that you can perform now, oh Spring 2019 can’t come fast enough haha.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Holy crap, like dear god, what even happened when this part of the Direct dropped? I had so many hopes and fears for Smash 5 in terms of the roster, whether it’d be a new game or an enhanced port and what kind of stuff would be shown. And Sakurai and Nintendo just blew my frigging mind. Seeing the game’s new shiny visuals were great, and all the new stages, music, assist trophies, Pokemon, and tweaks to the game mechanics were great. But it was that roster that really got me. When they said everyone was available, I bloody lost it. 😛 I got so giddy to see Snake and Wolf come back, but then there was also Young Link, Ice Climbers, Ryu and Mega Man and more, and they all looked great. And to top it all off they frigging added my girl Daisy and then bloody RIDLEY at the end!!! Good god, it was like every wild dream come to life, fan service overload!!!!! It feels so surreal that it’s real, but all I can say is that December can’t get here quick enough! I NEED SMASH!
All in all, I’d say I had a good E3 viewing experience. The games I wanted to see exceeded my expectations, for the most part, I got what I wanted and while there wasn’t much in the way of surprises, what did catch me off guard was very pleasant. I’d say the future of gaming looks bright for us gamers for the next several months and good gravy by the end of the year my wallet will be destroyed because of all the game I need to buy haha.
But anyway how about you? What did you think of E3 2018? Was it good, bad or indifferent for you? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀