The three big press conferences this E3 left me completely surprised for both good and bad reasons. I found that a lot of the things I expected to see weren’t there, and many things that I never imagined to see completely caught me off guard. Just about all of my E3 predictions from the last episode of Mega Dads Live completely missed the mark and I guess I was disappointed nearly as much as I was satisfied with a lot of what was presented. It was a real mixed bag for me and I’ll let you know why.
I was expecting big things from Microsoft this year, I fully anticipated their lineup of exclusives to be the home run for the XBOX One, but there were few games on display during their presser that caught my interest at all. Last year Microsoft delivered a non-stop barrage of trailers that as a non-XBOX owner got me thinking twice. This year there were a few things that perked up my ears such as Sea of Thieves and ReCore. But for me the best thing at Microsoft’s presser had nothing to do with looking ahead, it was all about the past.
Backwards compatibility has always been a huge deal for me, and many other gamers who have amassed a collection of much-loved titles. For Microsoft to not play the corporate game of making you re-buy and re-download something you already own is a big win over Sony and Nintendo. In addition to that Microsoft announced an incredible and unexpected collection of Rare classics that covers their best releases (minus GoldenEye). The prospect of playing some of the N64’s best games on the XBOX One when you can’t even get them on the WiiU is another big win for Microsoft.
Unfortunately, with no interest in Microsoft’s most touted franchises such as Halo and Gears I felt like they played a little too close to the base this year and didn’t do enough to pull in a perspective newcomer to the fold.
Grade : B
Sony had by far the best showing, even if it was mostly flash over substance. Sony did this year what Microsoft did so well last year, and that is to get you thrilled about what’s coming. Right out of the gate they gave us The Last Guardian arriving next year, and it didn’t slow down much after that (unless you count wasting my time with CoD).
Sony was all about granting wishes this year with the revelation that Shenmue 3 was alive and coming to PS4, presumably exclusively as it’s been revealed that they are helping usher it in much in the way Microsoft is nurturing Tomb Raider. And in a nod to the 2013 E3 conference, Square Enix provided the biggest reveal of them all by announcing the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Sony also had incredible gameplay demos of Star Wars Battlefront, No Man’s Sky (too brief) and Uncharted 4. While Uncharted had a technical hiccup out of the gate, once it was moving it had my blood pumping for this sure-fire triple A exclusive. Sony even got me excited about one of their services, which is normally a snooze fest during these conferences. Playstation VUE is an exciting prospect for TV alternatives to Cable or Satellite.
My only complaints are a lack of focus on Morpheus which I was really looking forward too, and perhaps being a little too reliant on letting a name speak for itself. While the FF7 trailer was indeed amazing, I think we all know that deep down we won’t see this game for probably quite a few years, much like when they announced Kingdom Hearts 3 two years ago now and we’re still quite a ways out from playing that.
This is the real heart-breaker. Nintendo’s E3 showing was a shallow and ultimately joyless affair of a company lost in transition. I don’t know if they’re turning focus to the NX and holding back their big guns, but giving us literally NO reveals of anything to get excited about pretty much nails the coffin on the WiiU. Starfox Zero looks good, but nothing extraordinary and nothing that we didn’t know was coming. Yoshi’s new game was shown again, but there’s not a lot of pop in seeing that game again. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is an insult to anyone wanting a new AC game, and Mario Tennis is… Mario Tennis. Sprinkle in a bunch of crap for the 3DS which doesn’t interest me at all and nothing about Zelda WiiU and you have one disappointed Nintendo Fan.
The one Ace up Nintendo’s sleeve is what I honestly think will be the new Franchise to elevate Nintendo, Super Mario Maker. I haven’t been this excited for a Nintendo game in… perhaps forever. If Little Big Planet and Mario Paint had a baby it would be this game. I’m fully prepared to say goodbye to the outside world for a long time once the game launches. And it may stay in my WiiU until Zelda comes out.
But I can’t defend Nintendo’s anemic offering this year. I’m sad because I really felt like they’ve been ramping up and building a lot of capitol with some great games lately. But unfortunately I think this E3 was all about the WiiU’s death rattle.