This year's E3 has been a bit of a mixed bag. For some there were enough surprises and welcome announcements to make the whole thing worth while, while others struggled to find anything that would get them excited for the year to come. We asked our Games writers what their own thoughts were...
Diamonds In The Rough
This year, the majority of the E3 conferences were pretty disappointing for me. Ubisoft had the most annoying damn presenters, as always, and EA didn’t shut up about damn sports. Nintendo had a fairly underwhelming show, as did Microsoft. The two press releases that stood out to me were Sony’s and Bethesda, especially the former’s new IPs No Man’s Sky and Horizon. Naturally though, Bethesda had the most outstanding conference in my view – topped off with half an hour of info and footage of Fallout 4. Being on the same engine as what I might consider to be my favourite game of all time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and a sequel to another two of my favourite games Fallout 3 and New Vegas, this is not only one of my most hopeful announcements of this E3 but probably of the last 2 or 3 E3 events. The way that Bethesda have integrated so many aspects of the engine to be much more fluid and immersive, and the intriguing crafting and building mechanics – tis looks like it could well outshine its predecessors.
Best E3 Ever!
I am still coming to terms with the fact that we live in a world where Shenmue III actually exists and is actually coming. For years the game had been all but mythologised by the older gaming community, ever since that rushed port of Shenmue II reached the original Xbox all those years ago. It's been fifteen years since the last game launched on the Sega Dreamcast. Fifteen years! I mean... Is this a dream?
As soon as I heard the orchestra start that music I sat up right and yelped 'SHAMU!??' really loudly. Bear in mind it was around four in the morning in my time zone. And then they went and showed the first two games with Yu Suzuki's narration about how he's been trying to get it made in all the years since. It was emotional, and just after Sony announced that Final Fantasy VII was finally getting its HD facelift after all this time as well. Also, that Last Guardian opener? Sony didn't pull any punches this year. I just hope they can live up to their promises. Regarding Shenmue III, now that it's definitely got the greenlight as well as some marketing support from Sony themselves, all I expect from it is a satisfying conclusion. Shenmue II's cliffhanger is burnt so vividly into my mind. This last installment doesn't have to break new ground. All it has to do is give the fans the end to the story they started on the Dreamcast back in the late nineties. That's why I can forgive the terrible voice acting (and - by the way - it just as bad in the original two, so in that sense at least it's loyal to the originals).
And I can't wait to get it!
Mostly A Letdown
This year I feel that the majority of E3 conferences were a let down. But that's not to say there weren't a few games to look forward to. Whilst the trailer didn't give too much away, I loved every second of the Mass Effect Andromeda trailer. It teased new planets, the newly-designed MAKO, new characters, and a whole new galaxy to explore. Bring on 2016.
Nintendo was the biggest letdown for me this year, after last year's stunning performance anyway. The only game that seemed to interest me from their line up was Yoshi's Woolly World. All of their new stuff looked so mundane. With all the rumours of a new console in development at Nintendo, the ever elusive 'NX' system, would I be wiser to wait for that instead?
Elsewhere, Sony peaked my interested when a trailer for the next Destiny expansion, The Taken King, was revealed. Whilst a lot of people seem to have lost interest in this game, I am proud to be one of the few people still playing, mainly in the hopes that it will get better with time. The trailer for the new expansion showcased new abilities for each playable class and teased a new raid mode where players will be able to face off against the father of raid boss Crota, Oryx.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft showed off one game I've been keeping my eye on for a while now. Rainbow Six Siege looks awesome, but will it be as good as the former Rainbow Six Vegas games? I'm still very undecided about if I should pick this one up, even after the new footage they revealed.
Even Microsoft seemed to be another letdown this year. They had very few games that interested me, they had a new game called ReCore which looked interesting, I also can't wait to get my hands on both Halo 5: Guardians and Rise Of The Tomb Raider once those release.Hands down my favourite E3 conference for 2015 is Bethesda and their showing of Fallout 4, It's a game I've been looking forward to for a long time now, and to actually have some more details from the games reveal trailer was a treat, bringing loads of new features to the table. Not only did Bethesda release some new details on the game, they also revealed a special version of the game which includes a wearable Pip-Boy (The games wearable computer) and a mobile game called Fallout Shelter which puts players in the shoes of an overseer left to run his or her own vault. Did I mention Fallout 4 is releasing THIS YEAR! Bring on November.
Fallout, Fallout, Fallout...
The Bethesda conference was the highlight of E3 for me this year. Well, to be particular, it was on game: Fallout 4. Just... It's Fallout 4. FALLOUT FREAKIN' 4. If they can deliver everything they've promised and more, the future is looking bright my friends... Atomically bright... Just a little Fallout humour...
What We Really Want...
Every year we want to be wowed by E3. We want to see something incredible and something new. We want developers to fulfil our highest wishes and push the boundaries for what’s possible. And while this year we have seen games that look to do just that, and new technology that may just open the next course for gaming, there just hasn’t been that much needed sense of wonder.
Sequels of sequels of sequels were the standard go-to answer from developers, whether that be with Assassins Creed, Halo or Rise of the Tomb Raider, among others. In the end we may look forward to these games but we no longer get the feeling that we will be experiencing anything other than new levels to games that we have played before.
There were still rays of sunshine though. No Man’s Sky is shaping up to be something incredibly special and Ubisoft’s For Honor looks promising. There is no doubt, however, that Shenmue III, Final Fantasy VII and Fallout 4 were the real stars of the show, and they were also the biggest surprises, once again proving that what the audience really wants from E3 is less predictability and more big shockers to feed our souls.
Good. Not Great.
I feel the highlight(s) for my E3 experience can be summed up simply by Bethesda. Their opening conference was pretty much perfect showing Doom which just looked absolutely brutal and amazing. Of course I can’t neglect all the Fallout 4 information that was bestowed upon us which had me drooling at parts; the crafting system, building settlements… It’s everything I wanted and then some. In terms of other conferences not too much stood out, unfortunately I wasn’t hit with the nostalgia stick following the Final Fantasy XII & Shenmue III announcements, however I will say Guriella Games’ Horizon really has my interest though I felt Sony needed more first party titles. While it pains me to say it I have to say I felt disappointed by Nintendo… They just didn’t turn up. Sure their presentation was fun and enjoyable but there wasn’t enough of the right types of games being announced; Metroid Prime: Federation Force for example or their decision to not include Zelda U in this year’s E3 because it might cause “frustration.” But to be honest, in light of everything else they showed, this seems to have caused more of that than anything else.
There is still so much to look forward to in the year ahead. What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!