This year E3 was interesting for me because I own game systems from all three major companies. While I still don't have the Wii-U, and I have no plans of ever getting the Vita again, there was almost certainly something to look forward to on all fronts. There's no real debating that it was a good E3 event, all-around.
Of course, as usual, some of the shows went better than others'. I have my own opinions about what was good and bad, and what I'm looking forward to for the next year in gaming. So here is a rundown of some of the things I found interesting from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's camps:
Prior to their showing, Nintendo made it clear that the NX, Nintendo's mobile plans and Zelda Wii-U would not be discussed. We may not hear about any of those things again until 2016. Disappointing, to be sure, especially because mention of any of those things could have cemented interest in Nintendo during E3 this year.
Nintendo started off their event by unveiling Star Fox Zero, which Shiguru Miyamoto had announced he was working on a while ago, and which will undoubtedly be something for Wii-U owners to look forward to. I'm not a big SF fan, but one feature I did find cool is that your Arwing can transform into a bipedal chicken-looking land unit. All of the ships in the game can transform into a land rover of some sort, it seems. The Wii-U gamepad is also used as a cockpit camera and for navigation.
The problem is that Star Fox Zero, at least going off of the E3 trailer, really doesn't look that good - even by Wii-U standards. The graphics look like they belong to a Gamecube game, or at the very least something from the Wii. Platinum Games surely could have made a better Star Fox game... But maybe by the time it comes out it will actually see improvements. The bigger issue is probably that Nintendo had few surprises to show throughout the event.
Earthbound Beginnings was announced prior to Nintendo's E3 event, and is a port of the original NES game, translated into English. I applaud Nintendo for bringing their Japan-only games stateside, though this was one of few actual surprises at the event.
Yoshi's Wooly World was one of the highlights of the show, mainly because of the unique yarn and cloth inspired world of the game, much like Kirby's Epic Yarn before it. The game went on to score an average 6 out of 10 here on GS. On that same token, it really doesn't seem like it does much new for the series aside from its art style.
Fire Emblem If was renamed to Fire Emblem Fates, and new footage of the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem Wii-U game were shown. But I didn't feel like there was much new stuff shown to really merit their being present at the event, other than to promise more good games are coming soon.
Xenoblade Chronicles X was shown again as well. I think it actually received a release date for later this year. This is good and all, but again not much else was really shown and it wasn't a surprise.
Probably one of the most negative notes of the entire thing, in my personal opinion, was the Animal Crossing Wii-U card game thing. You go out and buy these cards (Amiibo dead yet?) and scan them on your gamepad... And play Mario Party with the Animal Crossing characters? Why? I really don't know. It seems lousy and nonsensical though. The new 3DS Animal Crossing game is probably going to be alright, though it seems very redundant.
Equally as bad in my opinion was Zelda: Triforce Heroes. In addition to being another lousy Four Swords-style Zelda game, it reuses resources from A Link Between Worlds, and is set in a 'fashion-savvy' land where Link can change into different outfits to gain different abilities - including a dress.
One good bit of Zelda news was that Hyrule Warriors is being ported to the 3DS... Though that really probably isn't great news for Wii-U owners who need exclusives.
Two really great 3DS surprises came from the event. The first of which was Metroid Prime Federation. A lot of Metroid fans were unhappy with the reveal, but personally I am looking forward to it. Little is known about the story, but you play as a federation bounty hunter with a suit just like Samus', and the game has a co-op mode as well as a multiplayer soccer-like game where you use your blasters to shoot a large ball into the other players' net. The game also employs a super-deformed art style - something I don't take issue with, but something that a lot of Metroid fans would.
The other pleasant surprise was Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Mario & Luigi from that game series meet up with the Paper Mario versions of themselves, and team up with Paper Mario to perform various paper-themed attacks. Though I haven't given either of those series' enough attention, I think combining the two together was an unexpected stroke of genius. I may be interested in Paper Jam.
Probably the biggest thing at Nintendo's E3, again not a surprise but something that has been around since last E3, was Super Mario Maker. You can create your own Mario levels and use assets from Super Mario 1, 3, World and New, and mix and match them. You can have Mario flying around in a cloud shooting fireballs, you can have him wearing a spiny as a helmet, and you can make a totally impossible level if you'd like. The game was used to make the final challenge for the people who won the Nintendo Championship Contest at E3.
Thoughts: I don't want to call Nintendo's event disappointing, because for me there are quite a few games from the event that I am looking forward to. However, it simply was not a good E3 showing. Nintendo did little to inspire confidence in the troubled Wii-U, and in fact the best thing to look forward to on the system is Mario Maker... Which is essentially Nintendo giving you a tool and saying, "Make your own game."
The Big-N didn't have many surprises to show at E3, and those they did have were mostly aimed at the 3DS, or were already announced prior to the event. Nintendo also didn't have much in the way of big first-party games to show, certainly not anything with the reach of Zelda Wii-U.
At the end of the day, most of what Nintendo showed was games that they themselves are making, or are producing in partnership with other developers. And when you consider that, their showing was decent. Nintendo also has Zelda Wii-U in the works, as well as the NX and mobile games. So all things considered, there is still a lot coming down the pipeline from Nintendo.
Sony was the quietest of the bunch at E3 this year. I didn't watch their show, partly because I wasn't at home whenever it aired, and partly because after the fact I didn't see much reason to watch the entire thing. But Sony did unveil lots of interesting games, and had some surprises.
The biggest reveal of the whole conference was probably the Final Fantasy 7 remake. All we have to go on is a quickly-made, but still impressive trailer showing Cloud walking through Midgar with his buster sword on his back, but that was really all SquareEnix needed to really get peoples' attention. But let's not forget that this wasn't Sony, so much as it was SE.
SE also showed World of Final Fantasy, a game where you play as two twins going through an FF world and befriending monsters, and they can become chibi and ride upon the monsters or the monsters can become chibi and ride atop the twins. They showed Kingdom Hearts 3, which looks to end the series on a high note. They showed Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfulness, which looks astonishing and, quite possibly, is the closest thing I'll have to look forward to a traditional JRPG for a while, turn-based goodness lacking. They also showed Nier 2, though only artwork for it, and it could be good though I've never played the first.... But it is connected to Drakengard.
Square Enix really did a lot for Sony's event.... And when you take that away, their show was somewhat lacking... But there were still plenty of other great announcements.
Shenmue 3, probably one of the most long-awaited games of the past decade, was announced by the series creator, surprisingly as a kickstarter project. Likely backed by Sony, the kickstarter was theorized to have helped show fan interest in the project, and ensure some extra content was made possible for the game. I have never played a Shenmue game before in my life, but I will say that I wouldn't mind doing so.
The other really big announcement of Sony's event, and one of the few that Sony really had something to do with, was The Last Guardian being shown and confirmed to be on the way for PS4. It's great that Sony finally made good on seeing this game through, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a game we've been waiting on for about 10 years - a game that lots of people bought a PS3 for, only to find that it kept going into development hell. This game's re-announcement, was really just long-overdue expected behavior.
Horizon Zero Dawn is being made by the Killzone developers and looks kind of decent, you play as a woman fighting robots with primitive weapons. Sony also showed more of Uncharted 4, which is worth mentioning. Street Fighter 5 is, of course, completely console exclusive.
For good measure, Sony is also making strides with its Vue TV device.
Thoughts: Sony had a good showing, but a lot of that is thanks to SquareEnix and a game that has been in development hell for a decade. Shenmue 3 being announced for kickstarter was a pretty unprecedented thing, and Horizon Zero Dawn does look like it could be an interesting new IP. The problem is that Sony didn't have a lot to show themselves, quite the opposite from Nintendo.
Sony needs to deliver on a lot of promises now. Creating hype is one thing, but following through is another entirely. A good example of this is No Man's Sky, a game which wowed crowds at last E3. In the game you can fly around to many proceedurally-generated worlds created by other players, and shoot at stuff in space. But little was really shown about what you do in the game, that makes it more interesting or even as interesting as a game like Minecraft. It is this lack of transparency that is hurting Sony in the long run.
That said, lots of great Sony games to look forward to. I didn't even mention Dragon Quest Heroes, Fat Princess Adventures, Hellblade or Tearaway Unfolded - any of which could also be decent.
The XBox team made an announcement ahead of E3 stating that several high-profile games would not be mentioned at E3, including Crackdown, Scalebound and Quantum Break. Also not mentioned was Phantom Dust, the progress of which is unknown at this point.
A lot of things were mentioned about Halo 5: Guardians, even right before E3. Locke and Chief are both playable and have their own teams of 3 comrades that follow them around as AI companions in the story. There was a HoloLens demo where holograms directed you to different waypoints. And then the biggest news of all was probably Warzone - big team multiplayer with a twist - you're also fighting against AI opponents! This frankenstein of a multiplayer mode will almost certainly be a welcomed thing.
A new IP was announced and a trailer was shown for Recore. It is the creation of the Metroid Prime team, and the creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. Though no gameplay was shown, the premise is interesting already. You play as a girl who fixes up robots with blue 'cores' she finds, and they serve as her guardians and assistants whenever evil robots with red cores show up. The blue cores can be moved to different robot bodies. I am super-excited about this one.
Backwards compatibility was announced for 360 games. This extends to many downloadable games, and also DLC. I'm still foggy on the details, but I guess this means I will be able to play Toy Soldiers 1 and 2 again - possibly without paying another dime? Great news for people who want to play older games on their new console, I hope Microsoft continues to support this feature and make it work with every game, sans Kinect games. (It can't play them.)
Fable Legends, while lauded by the audience, still seems like a decent game to me. It is completely free anyways, so I don't see why people are whining!
Cuphead still looks great, and I think Microsoft intentionally kept the game from being released until now just so they could highlight their indie reel with the game. I also thought Ashen looked good, and would like to see more of that game in action.
Rare Replay was announced, and has 30 RARE games... For $30! Amongst the titles are all 3 Banjo-Kazooie games, Jet Force Gemini, both Perfect Darks, two Viva Pinata games, two versions of Battletoads, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Kameo: Elements of Power. It comes out later this Summer. And Rare is also making a new game called Sea of Thieves, which looks like a pirate MMO. ...Not really sure about that one...
Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was announced by EA. I felt like this announcement was sweet and sour - sweet because I like the first game, sour because it seems unnecessary and I'm not sure if I want to buy another one. I am kind of interested though. The game is likely multiplat, though.
Gears of War 4 was shown.... For fans of those games. Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is exclusive, was also shown. Forza 6 was also shown.
A new controller was shown that has changeable parts. It costs $150! I am not interested, but it's another hardware option for enthusiasts.
I felt like the Dark Souls 3 announcement made me kind of bitter. It's like there is a new one of these games every year now. Kind of over them.
The Hololens Minecraft demo was probably the biggest highlight of the event. It showed that you can play Minecraft in VR, on your wall. Then, you can load your minecraft world on a table, and move it around and zoom in and out of it while playing the game from the third-person perspective. HoloLens is probably going to change the world, and this really showed augmented reality being taken a step further than with the 3DS.
Thoughts: I honestly feel like Microsoft had the best overall E3, and hopefully I still feel that way when these games come out.
Halo 5 has gradually become more interesting with each year since its unveiling. And now Warzone makes possible CPU vs multiplayer battles.
I think Rare Replay shows Microsoft's value package of content for the year... And while I think it does little to show that Rare is still great, a point they should be striving to prove, at least it shows the majority of their best games in one place.
The backwards-compatibility announcement struck a clear blow against Sony, who has no real plans to make the PS4 backwards-compatible. It's true that any PS3 or Vita game I've already bought before that is made available on the PS4 is free to download, though, so Microsoft is only just catching up to Sony in some respects. But this really spells great things for the One, since the 360 was a very successful console with lots of memorable games.
Recore looks like a great new IP, and with the Metroid Prime team as well as the creator of Mega Man in tow, it is sure to be worth checking out.
HoloLens... Really just blew me away.
I felt like all of the bases were covered, for the most part. Was it the most amazing E3 ever? No, but it was very good. And I am excited about my XBox One again.
E3 2015 was big, and along with it came lots of games to look forward to. On my 3DS, PS4 and my XBO I have great games to look forward to, as well as the great games I already own. I am even still interested in the Wii-U, thanks to some existing and upcoming exclusives.
To be honest, I'm really not entirely sure where to go from that. For the time being, I think my focus is on collecting some of the 3DS games I want, but not even at a fast pace. I feel like Rare Replay and Halo 5 are going to be day-one pickups for me, and likely also Crackdown. Final Fantasy 7 and The Last Guardian are surefire day-one buys. I guess all that I really can do is get what seems most interesting first, and wait on the rest.
I don't mean to discount the Square-Enix, Bethesda, EA or Ubisoft shows... But I really didn't have time for all of that yet. As things stand, there are a lot of games fighting for my money. I have to use my head a bit.
Many indies will probably fall to the back-burner. Cuphead and Toy Soldiers 3 are two exceptions to this rule.
One thing is clear. Many of these games will probably fall by the wayside as others take up my attention.