Best – Square Enix.
I know it is shocking to say of all people at E3 that Square Enix impressed me the most, but it seemed they had the best lineup of games that got me excited. They had the most shocking appearances and their presentation felt like a throwback to old times at E3. There wasn’t a massive stage with dangling cars and sports stars I could care less about, it was simply people of Square Enix talking about their own stuff in front of a screen. With that, like I said, they had something for everyone. FF7 remake is what got me pumped, but then they blew me away with Kingdom Hearts 3 meeting Tangled. If that’s not your style then perhaps action games like Just Cause 3 or Deus Ex will get your attention. They had my attention the entire show and almost everything on display looked like something I’d buy.
Worst – Nintendo
I’m a fan of Nintendo, they can be awesome when they want to be, and they can surprise us, but this show was as lame as can be. It opened up strong with Star Fox then immediately failed to impress. Openly saying they won’t talk about NX till next year killed a lot of momentum, but the rest of the show played out like it too was holding back for next year. Which sucks considering the outing they had last year. Not one big surprise?
Of the Big Two, Xbox Edges PlayStation
Everyone here at Cinelinx knows I’m a PlayStation person, but this year it felt Xbox was more exciting. No they didn’t really show much, but they knew how to keep us excited. Backwards compatibility is huge no matter how much people try to downplay it, and they also revealed a new menu system for One. The games hit a broad range, and most of them are releasing THIS year. Recore looked to be one of the more exciting new IPs at E3, and Hololens looks to be more exciting than VR. The only downside to the Microsoft conference was bringing down another stupid car from the ceiling. Microsoft listen closely, we don’t want car ads during E3…
Meanwhile Sony was more about the future and had nothing for this year. The Last Guardian still looked like a PS3 title and honestly I lost some excitement for it. New IP’s from GG and Media Molecule were exciting. I’m super excited to get my hands on Horizon, but beyond that it was basically a rehash of last year mixed in with some third party timed exclusives. I always attacked MS for timed third party stuff, and now Sony decided to do it…. And VR? This was the time to shine, yet all we got was a few words about it and that’s it. The thing is releasing early 2016 and we still hardly know much about it. It’s starting to bring a bad Vita feeling…
Honorable Mention – EA
While they had exciting games to show off, they cut them short to spend too much time on sports titles. I love that NHL was highlighted, but I lost interest fast. Why do we need an interview with a beloved soccer player when showcasing new games? And do companies honestly think we still care when an NBA star says a game is authentic? Been there, heard that. Thank god for Star Wars.
I don’t just say this because I was there, but it doesn’t hurt. I say this because Bethesda was well balanced and captivating. With each game they presented, the audience creeped closer to the edge of their seat. They opened with an incredible gameplay demo of DOOM and from there they seamless moved on to a breath-taking trailer of Dishonored 2. This all crept toward the most highly anticipated announcement for Fallout 4! You would’ve thought they gave the crowd millions of dollars with how crazy everyone cheered. With innovative customization (like the facial construction), updated fighting mechanics, and captivating storyline, Fallout 4 highlighted the E3 Press Conferences. Furthermore, the addition of mobile gaming and a real pip boy makes for an added gameplay experience.
This selection might come as a shock as I think 90% of us would be poised to pick Nintendo. No doubt, Nintendo was disappointing but it’s not like we didn’t see it coming. We knew it was too early for NX to be revealed, we also knew Zelda wouldn’t be showed, we also knew the headliner would arguably be Star Fox. This isn’t giving Nintendo a pass but it is meant for people to understand that the writing was on the wall. It certainly didn’t stop people from clamoring to visit their booth in E3.
I’m saying EA because I expected so much more from them. Mass Effect 4 seemed too short. I showed up a couple minutes late, and it was already done. For a game that is meant to be one of your mainstay franchises, you really skipped through it pretty quick. Unravel seemed sweet and complex but that’s about it. EA Sports, my bread and butter, was tremendously disappointing. I’m a huge fan of all sports games and I even got bored. NHL looked great but that’s about it. NBA’s presentation was awkward with a fat white guy telling us to, “Up our swag” and then bringing on some guy who patted his belly. FIFA 16 started with a 15 minute interview of Pele just talking about soccer for no other good reason than to create buzz in the FIFA community that Pele was on a stage talking about soccer. Granted, I love Pele, I love soccer, and I love FIFA but man I was bored to tears waiting for a trailer that looked almost like last year’s version. I would find out later, I wasn’t very far off. Madden NFL 16 looked to create a more entertaining experience in this version. However, upon demoing there are still quite a few bugs, granted it’s not complete yet but still. Finally, EA revealed Star Wars Battlefront and hid behind it for the rest of the conference. With good reason, though, Star Wars Battlefront is awesome! I can’t wait for it to come out but that’s about the only game I left really buzzing about. I’ll still get Madden and FIFA but the press conference left a lot to be desired.
Microsoft wins the Tech Battle but Sony wins the Game Battle
I will agree that Microsoft did win in the ever continuing battle for console dominance. What Microsoft did right was listening to the fans. Creating an all new customizable controller, coming out with the Rare 30th Anniversary Collection for only $30, and developing backwards compatibility for XBOX 360 titles had fans and industry people cheering. Furthermore, Microsoft’s unveiling of new technology like Oculus Rift and Hololens was all people could talk about all week long throughout E3 and beyond. Oh and Microsoft also released some games but it was mostly Gears 4 and Halo 5. Meanwhile, Sony blew up E3 with all their titles. Uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky, Shenmue 3, and Final Fantasy VII remake!! Plus, Horizon looks incredible as well as the long awaited The Last Guardian. Each had their plusses and minuses but both had a lot of exciting products that created buzz during the Expo.
Honorable Mention: Square Enix
I can’t say enough about how pumped I was for Square Enix. Nintendo had just finished and spirits were a little low. However, when Square Enix hit the stage, spirits were once again lifted through the roof. We obviously knew about FFVII but the update to Kingdom Hearts III had me giddy. Everyone is talking about the Tangled meeting and it’s cool but give me a Death Star!!! Plus, it looks like we are once again receiving another fantastic storyline to follow. Plus, Deus Ex Mankind Divided admittedly made me smile. I was not a fan of Human Revolution but the updates made to Mankind Divided had me really happy. Overall, Square Enix did a nice job. I still want to see more gameplay in FFVII but I was very happy with everything I saw from them this year.
Square Enix, for their remaster of the beloved Final Fantasy 7, along with Kingdom Hearts 3, Just Cause 3 and latest Deus Ex game.
Bethesda, for Fallout 4 and Fallout Shelter along with their limited edition Pip-Boy wrist gauntlet, oh and DOOM!
EA, for Star Wars Battlefront, Old Republic and Mass Effect 4!
Sony, for The Last Guardian. They did not show much so it is tough to say how good it will be but they sure made a cute dog, goat, bird creature.
All groups providing yet another rendition of sub-par, franchise intense FPS games like Call of Duty and others I fail to remember right now because YAWN…What was I saying? I fell asleep
As I was unable to watch Nintendo’s or Microsoft’s conferences I can’t comment on likes or dislikes of their involvement this year.