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It has been a week after this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, and we are still buzzing about what is coming for the next year on both consoles and PCs. While most of the big games shown are slated to come out sometime in 2015, there is enough games out this holiday season for some crowds. Did the big three persuade newcomers enough to buy their new consoles now or wait another year because nearly every big game was delayed. Our Entertainment Fuse writers briefly recap their thoughts of the show itself and reveal their favorite games of E3 2014.
Well E3 is done and to me it was a much quieter year than the past few. I was hoping to see a few more surprises than were actually shown and that is partially due to the amount of information that leaked. While 2014 is shaping up to be an OK year for games, it looks like the next year or two are going to be something special. The things I really did appreciate though were the instant releases we saw a few times. Microsoft released DLC for Forza 5 and Dead Rising 3 while EA launched their beta for Battlefield: Hardline and Sony pulled up the rear with the release of Entwined. I also really enjoyed the main focus on games all throughout. Other than a few hiccups from Sony we got to see a lot of games from a lot of different people. The real bummer for me was the lack of games coming this year followed by the fact that there just wasn’t a ton of new stuff. It looks like those of us that picked up new consoles early are going to have to wait a bit longer to see some real groundbreaking stuff.
There were a few games that caught my eye and luckily some are much closer than others to releasing. One of the big ones for me was Evolve. Evolve certainly looks to have expanded on the idea of Left 4 Dead and I absolutely love the idea of a 4v1 scenario. It’s something we haven’t seen a whole a lot of thus far.
The other game that I kind of took me by surprise was Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It is pretty apparent the inspiration for the gameplay here, a blend of Batman combat with Assassin’s Creed traversal sounds like it could make for a pretty enjoyable experience. However, they have also implemented an intricate memory system that makes encounters with enemies incredibly diverse and unique. These enemies will recall past battles with you, display anger or fear and even hold grudges against you. Sounds quite ambitious but if these things really turn out I think we may just a lot more games implementing the idea of memory into their game. A few other games worth a note are Far Cry 4, The Witcher 3 and BloodBorne.
There haven’t been too many Star Wars games mentioned recently and shortly after the new films were announced (I can’t wait) they go and announce a new game at E3. The fact they announced that the planets Hoth and Endor would be playable maps for the game did wet my appetite somewhat with Empire Strikes Back being my favorite film in the series and I absolutely love the Hoth system scenes so can’t wait to see how they implement that into the story and the game. With the advancements in graphics since the last Star Wars games I can’t wait to see how the game looks on my PC. I’m expecting big things from the films and the games so hopefully the new Battlefront will deliver!
One thing E3 didn’t do is turn my attention towards consoles. Well, maybe the Wi iU after the awesome demo from Nintendo this year. Sony and Microsoft’s exclusive games didn’t appeal to me at all but with Zelda on the horizon and the new Star Fox game, the tides may be turning for Nintendo and i think they’re due a very good 2015. Oh, and Mario Kart 8 has been awesome so far!
So E3 happened and it was a fun week, but now that all the consoles are out, we find ourselves in a predicament. I remember back around 2007, we honestly understood why we needed these new consoles. They totally stepped up the ante on how to create an interactive experience, whether it was the Xbox 360 or Wii. These two consoles made gaming a totally new experience and forget the previous generation even existed. We’re in the same position with these three new consoles, and I have yet to see something that tells me that new consoles needed to exist.
Sure there might be some polish that couldn’t happen on a PS3, but can you really say Batman: Arkham Knight couldn’t have the same scope of Gotham, after a game like Grand Theft Auto V came out last year on older hardware? Does having 1,000+ AI in a crowd really make that much of a difference in Assassin’s Creed Unity that it created an experience that was totally different than what I played in Assassin’s Creed III? Publishers aren’t ready for a next-gen only future because there isn’t a reason to do so yet. We haven’t seen that Fallout 3 or Wii Sports moment where we’re convinced that we have seen something totally new in terms of games.
Other than that, what I was most impressed with wasn’t a game, but Nintendo’s Treehouse Live broadcasting. They outdid any other gaming outlet in terms of showing off content. 45-minute hands-on with Xenoblade: X Chronicles or Splatoon? That’s an amazing way to show a game that had no prior gameplay demo. Since people from Nintendo hosted and demoed all the games showcased, so it never made any weird awkward moments or questions asked that they had to skirt around since Nintendo controlled the broadcast. And for those thinking Nintendo controlling everything made no space for learning everything new, it wouldn’t be any different than a Nintendo rep saying “We aren’t saying anything further today” to someone on IGN or something. They would have still controlled the message.
Before I talk about my personal game of the show I must give props to two games that just narrowly missed out on this award. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt continues to look incredible, just like it did last year. As I was more impressed with its showing previously, and it still not coming out till 2015 I didn’t feel as strongly about it as previously but still cannot wait to play it. The other contender was the brand new Zelda game coming to Wii U. I thought what we saw looked amazing but I’m still curious how this well pan out. It looked more like a vertical slice rather than a segment that will naturally occur within the final game and without even an official name yet, I doubt we’ll be playing this one till fall 2015 at the earliest.
My game of the show was undoubtedly Far Cry 4. After it’s recent announcement it was the game I most wanted to see gameplay of going into E3. It’s showing at Ubisoft’s conference slightly underwhelmed me but seeing the game finally in action at Sony’s conference; I was blown away. I adored the last game and this title looks to add to an already epic formula and take things to another level. Also knowing I’ll be playing it in a matter of months without years of anticipation is a bonus and why it’s my game of the show at E3 2014.
My general feeling about this year’s E3 are very positive. I can’t remember the last time all of the big three console manufacturers had such a good showing; all having great looking exclusives that make owning every console look very worthwhile. Ubisoft weren’t as strong as before but have plenty of good franchises with sequels coming out soon. EA completely missed the mark and were the only disappointment of the show. I liked Nintendo’s approach and really enjoyed how they handled their digital event and are not afraid to poke fun at themselves.
I would have liked to have heard more from some of Sony’s first party studios that are clearly working on games but have remained quiet. With the rise of other shows like Gamescom it makes sense to keep some things for later in the year. After the show my main takeaway was how there was a heavy focus on the core gamer with hardly any talk of casual games or TV and it is great that the main developers are focusing on their main audience once again. Even though many titles are scheduled for 2015 release, the next eighteen months look very strong on all three fronts and it is definitely a great time to be a gamer.