Another year, another E3, and as the litter-pickers chase tattered brochures and flyers across the car park, it’s time to look back and reflect. The gaming behemoth that is E3 rolled into town and with it came the great and the good of our industry. The gloves were off among the three console manufacturers and we were all braying for blood. And they delivered. Plus we’ve got some interesting games to pore over.
It all kicked off with the E3 press conferences. Needless to say, many internet inches have been dedicated to extracting every nuance and detail out of those, as we all try to predict how the new console war will go. Microsoft continued to underwhelm, but came out of the gate swinging for Sony, as Hideo Kojima chose to unveil the next Metal Gear game, The Phantom Pain, on the Xbox One stage. The game looks pretty and all openworldy, setting the pattern for almost everything that followed it.
There were few surprises with the Microsoft presentation. There will be a new Halo game. That’s no shocker, but it still raised a cheer, although we have no more details on that one. Ryse: Son of Rome was given a lot of focus. Once a Kinect title, which doesn’t bode well, this game looks nice enough, but I fear it’s just a Call of Duty clone with fancy Roman sandals on. The scene we saw looked like a barely disguised D-Day landing. Cue explosion, resulting in deadened sound. Check. Followed by slow-mo shower of dust and grit. Check.
Out of the whole Microsoft show, the only game that really intrigued me was Sunset Overdrive. This openworld shooter looks like Jet Set Radio, crossed with Bulletstorm ‘ what’s not to love about that. Looking forward to more on this.
Quantum Break also looks more intriguing the more I see, but I’m waiting to see how the TV show is integrated. I’m also interested in seeing more of Rogue-like, which looks like the type of game we don’t often see on Xbox i.e. something a bit quirky.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, E3 2013 will be remembered as the year Sony blew them out of the water. Once Sony announced the no always on, no restrictions on pre-owned and no spy-cam features of the PS4, it felt like game over for Microsoft. The week after the show Microsoft back-pedalled and followed Sony’s lead, eliminating many of the crazy restrictions they thought were so great at the show. So don’t count them out yet, though they were blown out at the show.
In terms of games, Sony really stole the show for me. The Order: 1886 is my game of the show. You know me. I love new IP, especially when it kicks off with a quote from Morte d’Arthur. This steampunk spectacular is set, at least partially, in late 19the century London. The main characters appear to be steampunk Knights of the Round Table, as one of them is called Galahad. Maybe the woman is Guinevere. That’s about all we know right now, but I’m hoping this will be a launch title.
inFAMOUS: Second Son is another title that looks interesting. The trailer Sony showed reveals a pretty snappy script and intriguing relationship between two brothers. It looks gorgeous. Added to that, we’re treated to a twist on the superhero genre. Playing as Cole, a graffiti artist, who discovers he has super powers, the game promises a more serious side to the infamous serious. So think Heroes meets Spider-man origin story ‘ teenage angst, plus quips and a character arc exploring the consequences that come with powers. Sign me up.
Despite the Final Fantasy fans griping and whingeing, I think that the FF Versus trailer looked awesome. I don’t get how setting it in the same universe as another FF game makes for a ‘game breaker’ if you’ll excuse the pun. And thank the lord that SquareEnix have finally got rid of the turn-based combat. This looks like more of an action RPG. Blend this with gorgeous SquareEnix graphics and the melodrama of a JRPG and it sounds all good to me. Cue the heart-swelling soundtrack for the bit when one of the most beloved characters dies.
Ubisoft showed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which looks like the biggest game of the series yet. And that’s saying something. It’s swashbuckling and epic, with a bit of Master and Commander thrown in for good measure. PlayStation 3 and 4 owners will also benefit from some exclusives, including missions with the female protagonist, Avaline from the DLC game.
Also from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs is still looking like a highlight of the gaming year. The more I see, the more I like about this game, which serves as a bridge from this gen to next.
Similarly, Beyond: Two Souls is coming to both PS3 and PS4, which is good for gamers, but means Sony misses out on making this a launch title exclusive. In the E3 trailer, we saw more about the background of the character, who is a bit of a female Jason Bourne. No bad thing.
All in all, it was a really nice presentation for Sony and the PlayStation 4.
Speaking of launch line-ups, in the battle of the consoles, nobody’s really winning the day. PS4 has Killzone, Knack and Driveclub, whilst Xbox One has Dead Rising 3, Forza and Killer Instinct on day one of launch. I think Xbox One just about sneaks away with it, when you look at the exclusives. Of course it all looks a bit tastier, when you add the likes of Watch Dogs, AC: Black Flag, GTA V and Beyond: Two Souls to the mix. Unfortunately, the most interesting games are stuck with a 2014 release date. This means the console race probably won’t really get under way until the AAA, next gen exclusives hit, which is the other side of Christmas.
There’s nothing like new hardware announcements to really get an E3 going. We wanted excitement and we got it. Looking back at E3 2012, I think the games were better last year, some of which are still on the highly anticipated list ‘ Watch Dogs, Beyond: Two Souls, Rain, GTA V, I’m looking at you. Put simply, the current generation is still looking pretty hot, which means I need some convincing when it comes to splashing out on a new console this November. Give me some new, quality IP at launch and then we’ll talk.
Most Played: The Last of Us
Most wanted: Rain