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E3 2016 Round Up: The Biggest Hits, Misses, and Things to Look Out For

Article by: James Kidd

 

Another E3 has finished up, and with that, much of the marketing blitzes by the big game publishers for next year. However, with all the conferences happening and news dropped, it is understandably hard to catch everything, much less remember it. If you are one of the people who missed out on this years event, here’s a great list of my personal biggest hits, misses, and things to be on the lookout for in the near future!

THE GOOD

Sony Wins Everyone Over Yet Again

Much like last year, the biggest fan pleasing event of 2016’s E3 event was Sony Entertainment’s conference on Tuesday. Completely ignoring the so called Playstation Neo, Sony focused all on the games that fan’s wanted to see most. Opening with a jaw dropping demo of the latest entry of the God of War franchise that sees Kratos dealing with Norse mythology, Sony continued to pull out all the stops, announcing a release date for the very long awaited The Last Guardian, a brand new Spiderman game by Ratchet and Clank developer Insomniac, and what looks to be Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima’s spiritual successor to his canceled Silent Hills game in the form of Death Stranding. Sony Entertainment also showed off quite a bit of new uses for their VR system for the Playstation 4, making it look far more interesting than a simple gimmick.

 

 

 

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Surprises

Despite earning millions of dollars a year, most gamers can tell you that Activision’s Call of Duty series has become pretty bland in recent years. Having jumped from World War Two to modern times, and most recently into the future, it is fairly clear that the series had begun to run out of ideas, so when the latest entry, Infinite Warfare, was announced at the beginning of May, that introduced spaceships and interplanetary war, many saw this as the series finally jumping the shark. Despite this sentiment, Activision showed off gameplay last week, and surprisingly enough, it looks like the most varied and original Call of Duty in years. While the core gameplay seems to be largely intact, the inclusion of off rail spaceship combat, as well as some awesome looking zero gravity combat, this might be the game that wins over the increasingly jaded fan base.

 

Microsoft Allows Gamers To “Play Anywhere”

In the past, Microsoft has attempted to create an entertained ecosystem of sorts between PC gamers and Xbox consoles, but the release of the much despised Windows 8 and the abysmal Games for Windows push seemed to largely derail those plans. However, at this year’s E3, Microsoft has seemed to have learned from its previous faults and announced their “Play Anywhere” stance. Starting this year with such games like Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, gamers on PC will be able to purchase and play with Xbox One players for the large majority of Microsoft’s first party catalog. While some see this as a foolhardy move that will lead to less Xbox consoles being sold, this is a massive win for those on console and on PC, selling more games than ever before as well as greatly extending the shelf lives of many multiplayer oriented games with the larger playerbase. Also, who wouldn’t want to experience the latest Halo game on a powerful gaming PC?

THE OKAY

Dishonored 2 Worries With An Iffy Demo

The first Dishonored game was hailed by many when it came out in 2012, being a welcome and highly acclaimed return to form for the stealth genre, so when the sequel was shown off at developer Bethesda’s conference this year, many were excited. The only problem? It really didn’t look all that different than the first. While the introduction of Emily as a playable character with her own unique abilities is cool, the enemy AI was very lacking, sometimes not even recognizing that a wanted assassin was right in front of them, which is very worrying so close to release. The graphics, while improved, still just look like a minor upgrade from the original, which, while helped by an interesting art style, is still disappointing.  However, where the first game shined was through the various superhuman abilities and ways to complete an objective, which seems to be very much here, so hopefully some fine tuning here and there can fix things before Dishonored 2 releases later this year.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Looks Empty

While many were certainly hyped over Nintendo’s latest in the Zelda franchise, Breath of the Wild, I was a little more skeptical. While the mysterious story, survival-esque gameplay, and gorgeous art style all look wonderful, the open world looks very concerning to me. There are some enemies to combat and animals to tame, but beyond that there doesn’t really look like there is anything else going on in the game world. While I realize the game is still over a year from being released, I can’t help but think that Nintendo got the wrong idea about fans wanting a Skyrim-esque game and merely copied other open world sandbox games like Assassin’s Creed and the Arkham series that upon closer inspection seemed pretty bland and repetitive. I doubt that Nintendo would mess up that bad, but given the poor decision making in regards to the WiiU and confounding decisions with the Star Fox, Metroid, and Paper Mario franchises, I can’t help but be a little worried.

 

THE BAD

EA, Nintendo, and Bethesda Majorly Disappoint

While it is true that Sony’s conference blew most of the other conferences away, it is mostly because the bar was set so low. Kicking off E3 in the worst way possible, EA decided to mostly focus on their sports franchises like FIFA and Madden, forgoing any worthwhile information about anything regarding the four highly anticipated Star Wars they have in production or Mass Effect Andromeda gameplay. They even relegated the worldwide premiere of Battlefield 1 gameplay to an after show presentation, which was a very bizarre move.

 

 

Next up, Bethesda took a giant leap backwards after receiving much praise from the recent Doom reboot, focusing on a mediocre Hearthstone rip-off, a bastardization of the Quake franchise, and an expansion to their underwhelming Elder Scrolls MMO. While the trailer for the Prey reimagining looks like it could be interesting, and Dishonored 2 looked like it is doing a decent job of adding to its predecessor, you know you had an underwhelming conference when a remaster of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the biggest thing people are talking about.

 

 

Nintendo, on the other hand, was an utterly pitiful display. Having essentially abandoned the WiiU and a near barren release slate for the rest of 2016, the company should have just skipped this year and made some announcements later on in the year. Instead, they awkwardly spaced out an entire hour dedicated to the upcoming Pokémon games that, while looking good, don’t really need any extra elaboration or gameplay demos. The gameplay reveal of the latest Legend of Zelda was obviously meant to be the crown jewel of the presentation, but even then the demonstration was hampered by developers not wishing to reveal too much. The fact that their new console, which developers had already started to hype up at E3, was completely absent only emphasized how much Nintendo is struggling.

 

Resident Evil 7: The Blair Witch Project?

One of the surprise reveals during the Sony presentation was a mysterious VR demo to set up the seventh entry in the Resident Evil franchise. However, while the demo certainly isn’t representative of the final product, I couldn’t help but be just confused by what developer Capcom was trying to achieve by this. It wasn’t really like Resident Evil at all, featuring what seemed like a serial killer more than the mutant zombies the franchise is so well known for, and just a lame attempt at mimicking last year’s excellent PT. Heck you could have slapped on the name of numerous other survival horror games like Amnesia or Outlast and it would have made more sense than it being a Resident Evil game. This may turn out to be a good game, but at this point, I don’t see how it is a Resident Evil one in any way.

 

Days Gone By Sabotages Itself

When the trailer for Days Gone By was shown towards the beginning of Sony’s presentation, I was genuinely interested in what it was going to be. At first seeming like a sequel to The Last of Us, it set up a biker protagonist in a post-apocalyptic world where—gasp!—there were no zombies or horrifically mutated humans to be found. While the post-apocalyptic genre definitely isn’t lacking, it could have been interesting to see a more grounded aftermath of the collapse of civilization. However, Sony promptly went and shot itself in the foot, holding gameplay for Days Gone By until the very end of their show, and surprise surprise, it is yet another generic zombie game. Sure, having a massive horde of the dead chase after the player is impressive on a technical level, but it doesn’t change the fact that literally everyone has either seen or played something like that hundreds of times before. With a conference that showed off some amazing stuff like Horizon: Zero Dawn and had an entire orchestra play the soundtracks for the games being demoed, it was a shame it had to end on such a sour, bland note.

James Kidd

Raised up on Bruce Timm’s DC cartoons, Edgar Wright, and all kinds of video games, Jimmy was destined from birth to become a massive nerd. Majoring in English at Clemson University, he plans to become a journalism so he can finally put his film elitism to use, as well as possibly becoming a screenwriter (provided he finds the time).

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