E3 2016 – Review and opinion of this years Event

In Videogames by Kevin MaschkeLeave a Comment

Another year is over and another E3 has passed! And like every year, I’ve watched the conferences. I haven’t written or published anything about the E3 2015 earlier because I was on holidays, but I do want to give my opinion about the conferences, like I did in previous years.

Personally I have the feeling that E3 have decreased in quality and get less and less interesting every year, trying to simply show that one company is better than the other one instead of leaving the people who really matter with the feeling of wanting more and more: the players. But let’s go for it. As last years article, I’ll go conference by conference.

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts has shown some interesting news this E3 although I’m only anxious of one of them, Mass Effect: Andromeda. This new title in the Mass Effect world will not follow the story of the previous trilogy but will tell a completely new story, in a much bigger world / universe and more freedom of movement and choices. I personally am really looking forward to get my hands on it.

EA has also introduced Battlefield 1, which would be, apart from Mass Effect: Andromeda, the only game from EA that may interest me. I admit that the trailer was really good, but we’ll have to wait for the end result once the game is launched, and in my case, see how good the campaign is.

Apart from this, Electronic Arts has introduced some new sports titles (Fifa and Madden NFL), indicated that various new titles in the Star Wars world are being developed by different companies and has introduces a program to support the creation of Indie games called EA Originals.

Bethesda

Bethesda hasn’t done a bad job this E3, announcing some interesting games. They have decided to bring Quake back to live, with their new title Quake Champions, a competitive arena based FPS, in which characters will have a variety of abilities similar to recent games such as Overwatch, but with a totally different theme in terms of graphics, gameplay and obviously blood. They have also announced that Bethesda will host Quake Champions tournaments since it is a ESport oriented game.

They also presented a card game based on the Elder Scrolls universe, called The Elder Scrolls: Legends which will include a single player story mode, and new expansions for Fallout 4.

Bethesda continued announcing a remastered special edition of Skyrim which will be launched this year for Playstation 4 and Xbox One. In this case I personally think this is unnecessary since the original game does look a lot better with mods than this remastered version.

They followed with the announcement of a new Prey, which will not continue the story from the previous titles and about which I can only say that the trailer looked very interesting and promising and we’ll have to keep our eyes open. They also announced some new updates for Doom and changes that will happen in The Elder Scolls Online (ESO), which will allow new players to explore all Tamriel and participate in activities without level restrictions. Bethesda followed up presenting Bethesda VR and announcing that games such as Fallout 4 will be 100% compatible with virtual reality in 2017.

Finally, Bethesda showed Dishonored 2, the title of this conference I personally was anticipating the most. They showed an extended demo of the game and the different mechanics to fight and evade enemies, and I definitely have it on my list. I really like the first game mostly because of its story and this second part will probably also fall in my hands too.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft did show a lot this E3. A lot of new titles and as always, they started the presentation in a more crazy way than the other conferences. They presented a few new titles which I’m personally not interested in, such as Just Dance 2017, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Eagle Flight (only for VR), Star Trek: Bridge Crew (also for VR) and Grow Up.

And yes, this was not everything yet. Apart from the above mentioned games which I will practically ignore, they showed off a new Trials called Trials of the Blood Dragon. I don’t know if this one will end up in my collection but I enjoyed and hated both the first and second title suffering trying to pass the hardest runs. They also presented a DLC for Tom Clancy’s The Division called Underground, which will focus on the subway and underground zomes in New York. Since the games doesn’t seem to have a lot of fame lately, let’s see how the sales go.

Ubisoft showed an extended demo of Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and I’m still very interested in this game because of the freedom of movement it gives the player and the possibilities it offers, apart from the destruction that can be caused. I only hope they improve the motorcycle handling because in the demo it seemed a bit clunky. They also showed a demo of a mission of the vikings in For Honor. The game does look very interesting and it personally reminds me a lot of Ryse: Son of Rome, but I admit the demo was a bit boring and I hope the whole game is not like that.

Ubisoft introduced a sequel to Watchdogs, with a new story and mechanics, more possibilities and more world to explore. I did not try the first one because when I saw it after its launch I was quite defrauded. Let’s hope this one ends up better than its predecessor.

Finally, Ubisoft presented Steep, a sports game, yes, but not a normal one. Ubisoft tries to fill up the gap in the extreme mountain sports games such as Snowboarding, Skiing, etc (more sports are represented in the game) with a game were we’ll be able to compete with our friends in different disciplines and a multitude of races. I think it does look quite good and promises if Ubisoft doesn’t mess it up.

Microsoft

I think Microsoft’s conference this E3 wasn’t bad. Neither was it good. They showed off various new releases, such as a new Xbox One and controller, and some new games. But let’s go one by one.

The new Xbox One S will be 40% thinner than the original one, will include a 2TB hard drive and will be able to play videos (not games) in 4k. It will also come with a new controller which the players will be able to customize online when buying the console. I personally play on PC since I moved to England and I don’t think I’ll end up buying the console. This announcement came accompanied by the introduction of Xbox Play Anywhere, a new program by Microsoft which will give players who buy a digital copy of selected games for Xbox One or PC a copy for the other platform. Basically, if you buy an Xbox One game you’ll be able to play it on PC and vice versa, something that I believe logic since the console runs on Windows 10. The good thing is that saved games (progress) and achievements will be shared between console and PC.

Microsoft announced Gears of War 4, one of the few games of this conference that I’m personally interested in. They showed a demo of the new campaign were we could see some of the new characters, mechanics and enemies. Gears of War Judgement was a huge failure in my opinion and I hope they’ll fix that mistake with this title. What I like most was that Marcus Fenix seems to come back to the saga.

Other games I found interesting were We Happy Few, of which they showed an extended demo and which really caught my atention because graphically it reminds me a lot of Bioshock Infinite, which I like a lot; and Sea of Thieves, which seems to be a fun pirate title to play with friends, create a pirate gang and cruise the seas. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seemed fun.

Apart from this, Microsoft showed various titles more which didn’t personally caught my attention:

  • Forza Horizon 3, based in Australia and with a new system so your friends can join your session without loading screens or interruptions.
  • Final Fantasy XV, this years trailer has been really boring and the game itself doesn’t look as appealing anymore.
  • The same DLC for Tom Clancy’s The Division called Underground that was presented at Ubisofts conference.
  • The same trailer for Battlefield 1 shown in the EA conference.
  • Tekken 7 with a new story mode.
  • Dead Rising 4, in which Frank goes back to Willamette to ravage through hordes of zombies.
  • Scalebound, with a multiplayer demo which I honestly though was boring and disappointing.
  • State of Decay 2, with a trailer I have to admit wasn’t bad and introducing a new Coop mode.
  • Gwent, a card game based in the world of The Witcher.
  • Hallo Wars 2, with a cinematic trailer that shows the two factions in a huge battle.
  • Inside, the nie title from the makers of Limbo.
  • Minecraft Realms and Crossplay, of which I’m not going to talk.

Microsoft also introduced some new features of Xbox Live, such as background music while playing; Region-Language independence, which will allow players of one region to set the console to their preferred language (something that should have been possible since the beginning…); Clubs, which will allow players to create groups/clubs with similar interests (this will probably be used a lot for clans); “Looking for Group” feature that will allow players to set statuses to find players to play specific games with them; Arena, a new Esports platform for Xbox Live and finally Cortana, Microsofts digital assistant, will come to Xbox Live. They also showed off a series of short trailers of games that are being developed in ID@Xbox, Microsofts Indie publishing platform.

And to end the conference, Microsoft introduced its new console, Project Scorpio, which will be launched summer 2017 and will include an 8 core processor, 6 Teraflops of graphic power and will support 4K gaming and VR. They also announce that all accessories for Xbox One and Xbox One S will work with Project Scorpio.

Sony

In my opinion the best conference of this E3. Sony presented game after game and without being a Sony or PlayStation fan, I admin that they have a lot of very interesting titles and, the whole conference was accompanied by an incredible live orchestra.

Sony started hard showing off a demo of the new God of War, which has received an incredible graphic improvement compared to its predecessors and also changes the perspective/viewpoint the player has to a third person over the shoulder style similar to Gears of War. The demo showed us an older Kratos, and his son, in an incredibly detailed forest environment and some really nice fighting scenes.

They continued with a demo of Days Gone, an open world zombie game in which we’ll take control of a Biker. It looks like a mix between Sons of Anarchy and Day Z, but I admit that it look really interesting and detailed. Then they showed us The Last Guardian, a game people already thought forgotten and abandoned, but no. Sony announce that it will finally be launch this October.

Sony also showed us an extended demo of Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game which was presented in last years E3, based in a world in which the machines rule and the humans fight to survive in small settlements. They showed new techniques and mechanics of the game in terms of fighting and interacting with the environment, NPCs, etc., y it still looks amazing.

Another new game that was introduced is Detroit: Become Human, of the makers of Heavy Rain, with a really amazing and well made trailer. In the game we will go through different experiences taking control of what seems to be different androids (humanoids) and in which we will have to make a large variety of decisions, all of them with their own consequences. I was really impressed and this game really caught my attention.

Then Sony presented a mysterious and nightmarish trailer of the new Resident Evil VII. The game does not look like any of the previous Resident Evil but more like a first person horror game such as Outlast. And it will be 100% VR compatible with PSVR.

Speaking of PSVR, Sony introduced their VR device, with a really nice design and a price way below its competitors, 399 dollars. Together with this, they showed various VR oriented games such as Farpoint, which seems to be a first person shooter on a distant planet with huge alien monsters; Star Wars: Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission, which as the name suggests will make us fight in big space battles flying an X-Wing; Batman: Arkham VR, which will allow us to take control of the Dark Knight in first person VR and finally Final Fantasy XV, which will include a first person shooter mode in VR.

Sony followed up with a demo of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, in which they showed a huge space fight going on and were we could see us flying a space fighter and confronting our enemies floating through space. I admit that the trailer looked really appealing and got my attention. They also presented a remastered version of Modern Warfare, which will be included in Infinite Warfare.

Another huge announcement they made was that Crash Bandicoot, Crash 2 and Crash Warped were being remastered for PS4. Huge news because these are mythic games that anyone should play. What memories come up!

Hideo Kojima brought is a welcome surprise presenting a trailer of his new game, Death Stranding, in which we saw Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead) as the main character. The trailer does not give much details, but leaves us all with the anxiety of knowing more.

Finally, Sony presented a new title of Spider-Man for PS4 and Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, based on the last movie that came out.

Nintendo

I think Nintendo’s conference this E3 was a total failure. It shouldn’t even be called or considered conference. The only thing they did all day was to talk about two (well, three) new games and show them off and play them for hours. Nintendo introduced Pokemon Sun and Moon (two games) an the new The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nothing more. In my opinion a bad joke and a waste of time for the E3.

Square Enix

Sqaure Enix did also not have a great conference this E3. In fact, it was also quite poor. They did not present much and focused on the Deus Ex saga. They presented Deus Ex Go, a mobile version of Deus Ex which follows the lines of Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go and focuses on infiltration and puzzles. It’ll also include a map editor so players can create and share their own challenges. Then they showed a new mode for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided called Breach, seemingly inspired in Superhot, were the player will have to complete virtual levels confronting polygonal enemies to extract information.

Finally, Square Enix presented and extended demo of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, showing a bit more of the game mechanics and different ways of fighting or evading enemies.

Conclusion

In general I think the E3 has been quite weak, even if some new releases have been announced and some interesting games have been showed, and in my opinion Sony had the best conference this E3, with a spectacular presentation (in part thanks to that orchestra) and an incredible catalog of news and new games. I’m not a fan of Sony or Playstation, but I admit that what they have presented leaves rest of the conferences in shadows.

If I have to choose what I like most of all conferences, I’d highlight the following:

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Gears of War 4
  • Project Scorpion (out of interest more than anything else, because it seems that it’s going to be a PC withing a console form format, but we’ll see…).
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
  • Battlefield 1
  • Dishonored 2
  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • Days Gone
  • Detroit: Become Human

There are some other interesting announcements, yes, but this is what I would highlight at this point, and keep my eyes open for the rest.

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