E3 2017 Thoughts

It’s been a while since I last posted anything. The past few weeks I’ve been feeling terrible (fever, cough, etc;) and even before that just uninspired and downright lazy.

But this past week was E3! One of the most exciting weeks of the year for video game announcements and gameplay footage. Right? Guys?…

Yeah this E3, for me at least, was kind of a bummer. Nothing too special was announced or shown that made me jump out of my seat in excitement. If anything this year set up what might be an absolute monster of an E3 in 2018. From Software was nowhere to be seen, possibly waiting until TGS to show off their new Armored Core or possibly Bloodborne 2. The Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue 3 will most likely show up in one form or another next year. Maybe price drops on PS4 Pro to further cement their lead in the console market? How about some Smash Bros. news for the Switch? The Last of Us 2 and a new Halo are likely to be there next year as well. But that’s a long ways away at this point. Let’s get back to the present.

I’ll go over each conference and what I thought was good and bad in the order they were presented.


EA

In the increasingly ridiculous arms race to be the first to present their E3 press conference, Electronic Arts started Saturday.

Battlefield 1 DLC – Not exactly exciting but good to hear non-the-less.

Need for Speed: Payback – I’m not a huge racing fan but it looks like a good Need for Speed game I guess. It seems they are emulating a little of the fan favorite Burnout series with the way they highlight collisions and crashes.

Anthem – Bioware’s new IP was teased. More on that during the Microsoft briefing.

Sports – FIFA, Madden, and NBA Live were shown. NBA Live has had a rough development cycle the past couple of years and I have to say, it still doesn’t look good compared to the 2K series. I don’t really see this game performing well in the charts.

A Way Out – A new coop only forced split screen adventure from the creators of Brothers. I really like the idea of trying something different and forcing split screen so that you have the perspective of both characters all the time. It can create some cool cinematic shots and storytelling moments. It reminded me of Kane & Lynch, in a good way. I want to see more of it and I wonder what the price will be. They are really focusing on the coop experience and I wonder if they will do some sort of Steam bundle for 2 people at a lower price. We’ll see next year.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 – Similar to the first game, the visuals look stunningly good. The Frost Engine can really pump out some fantastic graphics. The problem I had with the previous game was that it was too shallow. No single player, few maps, simplistic combat, and the power-up system left me bored very quickly. During the conference and press interviews, the developers were constantly stating that they heard out concerns about the first game, and it shows in the gameplay footage released.

There’s now a full length single player campaign, a class based system for multiplayer loadouts, and from the looks of it they removed the power-up system completely. Instead, the new system uses points accumulated over the course of a match to spend on piloting vehicles and turning into hero characters. That’s much better than camping and finding power-ups throughout the map. However, even with all these improvements, I can still see myself getting bored of the game within a week or so. I just can’t see the staying power for the multiplayer. Coinciding the release date near the film release is sure to get people excited, but the gameplay is so mindless and simplistic that I can’t see myself playing for long.


MICROSOFT

Microsoft officially unveiled their new console, the Xbox One X, or XBOX for short. Or 1X? I don’t know, either way I feel like they should have kept the Scorpio name which was badass and was already getting stuck in people’s heads.

xbox-one-x-ed

Touted as the most powerful console ever, which yes it is, until a year or two down the line when the next one is released. Here’s a quick rundown of the good and bad about the 1X which is releasing on Nov 7th:

    + Most powerful console out so it should play games the best (besides PC of course)
    + Plays everything from classic Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox one (including new classic Xbox backwards compatibility program)
    + Smallest Xbox ever
    + Old games will work better on the 1X
    + Old accessories still work on the 1X

    $499 – I know this price is still reasonable for the hardware you are getting, but it would have been real nice to come out at $399 to completely overshadow the PS4 Pro.
    First Party Games – Where are they? Where are the brand new IPs that Microsoft has been investing in for years now? Guess we’ll still have to wait and see.

Now onto the games that were showcased:

Metro: Exodus – Looks great, seems to be more of an open world because of the map they showed. Anything that resembles S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and I’m in.

Forza Motorsports 7 – Another year, another Forza. To be honest, I don’t even think it visually looked as good as the previous Forza and Horizon. Maybe that’s just me.

Assassin’s Creed Origins – The gameplay demo they showed off didn’t really look like anything spectacular. Which is disappointing because they took a year or two off from releasing anything Assassin’s Creed related and I thought this one would be much improved. What’s relieving is that a lot of people that played the game on the show floor have been saying the combat feels good and that the gameplay video doesn’t do it justice. The combat now looks like an easier Dark Souls style lock on and dodge system. Which is cool, but I miss the days of really stalking a primary antagonist through crowds and silently assassination them like an… assassin. The eagle vision just reminds me of the drone in Wildlands. Mark every enemy and take them all down to clear out an area. It’s nice that there’s no minimap now which helps immerse the player but the eagle I could do without. Looking forward to seeing more of this one.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds – Nice pickup for Microsoft to get that game on their system. I’m sure it will be a good port of the PC version and work well on a console.

State of Decay 2 – I enjoyed the first one and this looks like it will improve on all the systems and include multiplayer. Sounds good to me.

Deep Rock Galactic – Independent mining coop survival game? Looks cool but will come to early access next year. Who knows what features it will have by then.

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Darwin Project – What the hell was this? A competitive survival game with an esports commentator talking over the gameplay? Looks terrible.

Minecraft – A graphics update for Minecraft along with cross system compatibility for PC/Xbox/Switch. Cool.

Dragonball FighterZ – A Dragonball Z 3v3 fighting game from Arcsys, creators of Guilty Gear and Blazblue? Awesome. Looks beautiful

dbz05-0

Black Desert Online – Good, grindy MMO that I don’t know how will run on a console. That game is hardware intensive. Not sure if it will have separate servers or not, but it’s pretty cool that it’s coming to a console.

The Last Night – 2D pixel style sidescroller? Visually looks great but apparently the creator is a gamergate supporter? I don’t know the whole story but I’ll just wait and see what people say about the game when it’s released to see if it’s good or not.

Code Vein – A more anime Souls style 3rd person action game. Eh, I don’t know about this one.

Sea of Thieves – RARE’s open world multiplayer pirate game. Word is that you really have to create your own fun while playing because right now RARE is still searching for something to drive the game towards release. Something feels missing. Unfortunate because it looks like it could be great.

Crackdown 3 – Wow was that trailer complete garbage. The only good thing about the trailer was Terry Crews. Fortunately the gameplay from the show floor looked much better and reminded me of the older Crackdown games. Orbs, transforming vehicles, and crime galore. Apparently the destruction tech is only for the competitive multiplayer which we’ll see more of at a later date. Hmm.

Ashen – 3rd person action adventure coop game. Looks cool

ashen

Life is Strange prequel – Ok

Shadow of War – I don’t really have much interest in another LOTR game. Nemesis system is cool and all but there’s other games I would much rather play.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps – I still need to play the first one but this already looks fantastic.

Anthem – Bioware’s third person shooter set in a futuristic steam/cyberpunk open world where you get into different classes of exo suits (Javelins) that determine what type of class you are. Looks promising, like Destiny when that was first introduced. Looks like drop in/out coop with a tiered loot system. I’m cautiously optimistic.


BETHESDA

Quake Champions – $1 Million tournament announced for QuakeCon. Still no release date on the game. Looking forward to this though.

Payed modding platform – Bethesda has created some type of modding system that will showcase mods that will be officially supported and not ruin saves or achievement progress. I don’t know if this system will work considering all the free mods still available. I don’t think users will flock to this type of system just yet.

Fallout 4 VR – Release date in October and will be $60. I don’t have a VR platform so I can’t really comment except that it looks like Fallout 4 in vr unlike…..

DOOM VFR – I’m not sure what VFR means, but this looks like a DOOM shooting gallery more than anything else. You can’t expect to be playing something as fast paced as the latest DOOM in vr, but this looked underwhelming.

The Evil Within 2 – Early October release. They didn’t show much gameplay but that I did see was another good looking psychotic action thriller like the last one. Excited to play this.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – The trailer looked so good that I had to pick up the 1st game so that I’m caught up. Can’t wait to play this one. Apparently runs on the latest engine that DOOM was built on so expect fast paced dual wielding action again.


PC GAMING SHOW

A lot of games were shown off here but the most notable ones for me were:

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord – Honestly just looks like a beefed up version of the original. The combat still looks clumsy and stiff but I’ll play it anyway.

LawBreakers – coming out August 8th for $29.99 on PC/PS4. Good price for a multiplayer only arena shooter. Hearing good things about the beta.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition – Oh? Hmm. Ok.


UBISOFT

It felt good to see developers that were actually excited to show off their games.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – WHAT? a Mario game with an XCOM battle system? Turn based cover shooter? Well that is certainly interesting.

Assassins Creed Origins – Already mentioned

The Crew 2 – Cars, Motor Bikes, Planes, Boats, racing.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Never played the original game but this looks just as good.

Skull and Bones – Pirate game using the Assassin’s Creed Black Flag boat tech. Multiplayer ship focused PvP game. Fall 2018. Not interested in this game at all because of the focus soley on boats.

Just Dance 2018 – Surprise. Surprise.

South Park Phone Destroyer – A mobile card game? Nope.

Far Cry 5 – Looks like another Far Cry game set in a different location. Not really sure what to think. Was hoping for something different.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 – I never played the first game but it seems like a lot of people have fond memories of it. Glad to see a lot of people happy that it’s coming back.


PLAYSTATION

This conference felt really flat. Like someone just hit play on a playlist of trailers. Compared to the others it just felt lifeless.

Uncharted The Lost Legacy – Another Uncharted game with a different main character. Same 3rd person action adventure game. I’ll probably skip this like the last few Uncharted games.

Horizon Zero Dawn DLC – Great.

Days Gone – I want to like this game, but something about it just makes it seem boring and uninspired. The combat doesn’t look particularly good. The story so far is nothing special. I don’t know.

Monster Hunter World – Finally a full fledged Monster Hunter game on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Can’t wait for early 2018.

Shadow of the Colossus Remaster – Yet another release of the same game. An HD version was released a couple of years ago and now we’re getting a remake or a remaster? I don’t know but count me out.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite – I really want this game to be good and from the sounds of it, the gameplay is classic Marvel goodness. But wow do the visuals need work. I don’t get what Capcom is doing with Chun-Li’s face.

mvci-chun-li

Call of Duty World War 2 – I like that the multiplayer looks slower than the last few games. I’ve been wanting a World War 2 game made with modern tech for a while now but I need to see more before I actually cave and buy another Call of Duty game.

VR – A couple of VR games that look terrible, including Final Fantasy XV VR fishing. Wow.

God of War – I’m not too interested in escorting Kratos’ child around the whole game, but the new gameplay style might be enough for me to finally try a God of War game.

Detroit: Become Human – Another David Cage story driven game like Heavy Rain, this time featuring a future where androids are being mistreated by humans. Interesting concept of what rights should sentient androids have and other moral questions about humanity. Unfortunately these stories tend to not dive too deep into answering those questions.

Destiny 2 – I have to be honest, I’m not excited what-so-ever about this game. The gameplay just isn’t doing anything for me, but I’ll still probably get it on PC with a couple of friends in October.

Spiderman – The visuals of this game look great, but the gameplay just looked like a revamped Batman game, of which I never could get in to. I’m also just not interested in Spiderman as a character at all.


NINTENDO

Nintendo hit play on a 25 minute video showcasing some upcoming games for the Nintendo Switch.

Mario Odyssey – What might be my game of the show, Mario Odyssey is looking fantastic. They showed off a new gameplay mechanic where you can take over enemies and objects by throwing your hat at them. Becoming a bullet bill and bypassing some platforming or becoming a T-Rex and doing who knows what sounds cool, but most importantly the platforming looks good and creative. A must for a Mario game.

Metroid Prime 4 – I was never really interested in the Prime series. No footage shown yet.

Metroid: Samus Returns – Sidescrolling Metroid game for the 3DS. Looks pretty good.

Fire Emblem Heroes – Dynasty Warriors with Fire Emblem characters.

Pokemon RPG for the Switch was announced to be in development. Finally a full fledged console Pokemon RPG. Something fans have been asking for for a long time.

Kirby – A new Kirby game is coming out for the Switch. Looks like what you would expect it to.

kirby-for-nintendo-switch-e3-2017-screenshot-4
Closing Thoughts

I thought this year was pretty lackluster overall. I was surprised at how good Mario + Rabbids and Mario Odyssey looked. Disappointed in Assassin’s Creed’s showing, and the lack of Halo, The Last of Us, and any From Software title.

If anything, this sets the stage for a monstrous E3 2018 showing but that’s a long ways away.

The games I’m looking forward to the most from this E3 are:

  • Mario Odyssey
  • Mario + Rabbids
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Wolfenstein II
  • Quake Champions
  • Anthem
  • Dragonball FighterZ
  • Crackdown 3
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Metro: Edodus

I guess those are a lot of games that are coming out within a year so maybe this E3 wasn’t as bad as I initially thought. Still waiting on the new Armored Core though 🙂