E3

E3 2015 Roundup

This years E3 show was a lot to digest. Between Bethesda’s first ever E3 press conference, Microsoft’s surprise backwards compatibility announcement, and Sony finally revealing its blue lobster in The Last Guardian, this year’s E3 was a show to remember. Truthfully, it is a reason why it has taken me so long to do a post-show blog; a show this big and this full of surprises has taken me this long to process and to fully understand the impact of what we witnessed mid-June this year. Without further ado, here is my E3 2015 roundup of the conferences I watched. I am not reviewing Nintendo’s as I did not watch it, as well as I am not touching Ubisoft or EA (however I totally called Ubisoft making an open world Ghost Recon game!).

Bethesda:

Bethesda had a fairly small conference when you look at it in perspective. The conference itself was started by a fairly long Doom 4 showing, followed by a small showing of other games such as Dishonored 2, and then closed with a massive unveiling of Fallout 4 which took half of their conferences total time. That’s not a bad thing, because everything they showed was gold.

Doom 4 looked like it was finally returning back to form as a past-paced, atrociously gory shooter in hell. See below.

Dishonored 2 looked like it is expanding the established formula of the first game (and allowing you to play as a female character is pretty great too). Their other games were mostly unnoticed for me, but then they talked about Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 looks like it is turning out to be more than I ever could ask for in a video game. The visuals looks stellar for such a huge open-world game, the combat looks much (MUCH) smoother than Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and possibly the coolest new feature we know about so far is that you can build your own settlements and outposts, build an economy in those outposts, and you will have to defend them from raider attacks! Finally, Fallout 4 is giving players a reason to pick up coffee mugs and scrap metal, as you have to build all of these structures and materials from scratch to create your own outpost. The name of the game in Fallout is freedom and customization, and it looks to be coming out of the seams in this game.

You will notice this column is much shorter than the other ones – that’s because this show was not as jam-packed with content as other shows. Short but sweet.

Overall Rating: Short but oh so sweet.
9/10

Microsoft:
Microsoft wowed me at this years E3, as they did last year as well. Last year they just showed game after game after game, and this year they did the exact same thing but with more new games! Though it is not all good news – the Halo 5 campaign demo was lackluster to say the least. Not exciting at all, no memorable moment, no ‘wow’ factor at all. Sure, it looked great and it showed some interesting squad mechanics, but I was left wanting more from it. However, they more than made up for this in their new multiplayer mode demo Warzone. 12 vs 12 makes this mode the biggest in Halo history, and the maps are absolutely massive. Not only that, it combines PvP with PvE, bringing the competitive big team Halo multiplayer we all love but also with some raid mechanics. There are A.I. enemies and bosses that are worth points, and you can also get points from fragging other players or capturing bases. This mode looks awesome and I cannot wait to play it.

Forza Motorsport 6 gameplay was also shown (along with a hanging Ford GT 2016 above the stage). It looks freaking real man. Check it out below. This series is a victim of its own success – I am not hyped for it but the only reason is I know it is going to be top-notch like it is every year.

One of Microsoft’s new games of the show, ReCore, was also revealed. It is so hard to get any context of anything from these cinematic trailers – but it looks like you play as a character with an orb in a desert. The orb can possess broken machinery (the game has an interesting post-apocalypse, Borderlands, steam-punk feel to it) and help you fight enemies. For example, at the beginning of the trailer it is some kind of machine dog, then it becomes basically a mini-gundam after the dog is taken out. I need to see more to make any sort of judgement – but it certainly is unique.

Possibly the biggest mic-drop of the show was Microsoft’s surprise announcement of the Xbox One becoming backwards compatible this fall. Easily the most-requested feature, this announcement went completely under the radar, and is a huge punch in the face to Sony, as they are now the only console on the market that is not native backwards compatible (Playstation Now does not count, they have the pay to play old games). Not only that, you can play online with 360 gamers and chat in a party as well. Basically it is a very slick and fleshed out emulation of the 360 software running on the Xbox One. I cannot wait to play some of my favourite 360 games on my Xbox One.

Rise of the Tomb Raider looked great as well – albeit predictable. Apparently the behind closed-doors showing of Tomb Raider at E3 was a million times better, so I will put that below this. I do not have much to say as I haven’t played the remake yet – but this trailer makes me want to.

Another huge announcement was that Fallout 4 on Xbox One will have full access to PC mods. This also came out of nowhere, and is great news for console gamers as a whole. Mods are one of the biggest bonuses of PC gaming, and now Xbox gamers (and possibly Playstation gamers down the line) will have access to this on one of the best modding games out there in Fallout.

Rare took the stage and (as my prediction stated here) revealed their Rare HD collection, 30 games for $30, which was awesome. All the Banjo’s, Conkers, and Perfect Darks are in it, as well as their older games. Viva Pinata anyone? And then they showed their new game, Sea of Thieves, which looks to be a MMORPG pirate game. See the trailer below, it actually looks very interesting!

Last big thing I want to talk about would be the Gears of War Ultimate Edition being formally announced (despite being leaked way before the conference) and then a surprise showing of Gears 4 (not Gears of War 4, Gears 4). The Gears of War Ultimate Edition looks great – I played the beta on Xbox One (the beta came out the next day) and the maps all look fresh and it plays as good as I remember it (a very Halo 2 Anniversary style treatment). Gears 4 on the other hand showed very little, but it was all in-game footage and gameplay. It looked amazing visually and showcased all-new characters running around in a massive storm (see trailer below). The problem was that it was so dark that I could barely see anything.

Microsoft’s conference was huge, and they didn’t even showcase all of their games – they are saving Scalebound, Crackdown, and Quantum Break for Gamescon in August (unfortunately, Crackdown and Scalebound are two of the games I wanted to see the most)! Microsoft proved that 2015 through 2017 will be an amazing time for Xbox gamers – there is no other console with more exclusives coming out in the immediate and near future than the Xbox One.

2015 has Rare Replay, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Forza Motorsport 6, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Fable Legends coming out. 2016 has Scalebound, Crackdown, Gears 4, Sea of Thieves, and who knows what else coming out. This is going to be good.

Overall Rating: Gamegasm
9.7/10

Sony:
The PS4 is murdering all other consoles in sales right now – it has nearly double what the Xbox One has and more than double of what the Wii U has for sales. While the Xbox One is starting to pick up steam, the PS4 will likely continue to have strong sales due to its initial grasp on the market. The problem Sony has is 2015 – there is a minuscule amount of 1st party games coming out this year. Sony had a lot to prove this year at E3 – and surprisingly they put on a pretty good show. Mind you, I say show for a reason. Their conference was well performed but had very little substance.

To begin, their big mic drop was finally announcing their Final Fantasy VII full remake for the PS4 – which is huge in its own right. Fans have been asking for this for literally a decade and it is finally happening.

One of their other big announcements was FINALLY showing The Last Guardian again, after being revealed first at E3 2009. It is coming out for the PS4, and you can watch the trailer yourself below. You can see how dated the game looks in a lot of respects visually, but otherwise this game looks very cool.

They also curiously announced that Shenmue 3 will be made if they reach their Kickstarter goal… I am not fond of companies not funding their games. Sony came out later and announced they will be forking over some cash to help as well but really – why was this game on Kickstarter? Sony should have just funded the game.

They also announced a freaking awesome looking game called Horizon: Zero Dawn. Made by the makers of Killzone, Guerilla games is making a third-person action game that pits you against giant robot dinosaurs… see below for yourself. This is awesome.

Sony then also showed an impressive demo of Uncharted 4 and No Mans Sky… not too much to say about either of these games except that we have already seen everything they showed us with these two games. No Mans Sky looks awesome, Uncharted 4 looks like more of Uncharted, which I never said was a bad thing.

Sounds good right? The problem is all of the games I just talked about are coming out 2016 and beyond… Sony will continue to flourish due to its initial market grab, but putting it up against Microsoft’s lineup for 2015 and even beyond and it is hard to compare. A great “show” due to all of the fan service they did, but really Sony did not plan out their games line-up that well at all. At least for this year. 2016 and beyond looks awesome, but immediately Playstation 4 owners have to realize that they will be playing third party games more than first party games in 2015.

Overall Rating: Fan service 2016
7/10

Conclusion:
E3 2015 was a great show from what I watched. So many amazing games are coming out for all platforms, and I am very excited for 2015 and beyond. Best show in years, hands down.

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