This year’s E3 has been nothing short of lackluster. In a year where there should ha a ton of new games and content coming out for the newest and greatest consoles made to date, there has been relative silence on all fronts. Oh sure, they dangled a few trinkets in front of us this year to placate us until next year. Sadly, that seems to be when all of the games we are excited about are coming out. But be that as it may, there were still some highlights we wanted to put out there and get your thoughts on the show so far as well.
It’s About Time
Microsoft announced Halo 5 officially. Well it’s about time. But oddly, there wasn’t really much more than an announcement. I mean sure there was a trailer. But it told us nothing about the game. NOTHING. Microsoft does what they do and wrapped up a really pretty package and then told us about Halo: The Master Chief Saga Collection Bundle blah, blah, blah. They should have announced a Halo game the second they announced the Xbox One was real. But like everyone else with this generation of system, no one wants to be out of the gate first. Everyone wants to hang back and see what the other guy is going to do. And so we wait until next year to see this game. Until then, I guess we’ll just have to keep playing the same Halo games we’ve already played a thousand times before they release a new collection of the games we’ve played a thousand times in order to try and keep us quiet until Halo 5 comes out.
First Party Party
Nintendo blew out some serious first party promotion with the trailers for two Zelda games. That’s right, TWO Zelda games. One of which looks incredible and the other of which is so sad that I really don’t even want to mention it, but I feel like I have to because other than these two games, Nintendo really fell short of the mark this year, as did everyone else. So whatever the new ACTUAL Zelda game is going to be called looks incredible. Graphically stunning and potentially a new character being introduced into the universe (the character featured looks a little like a girl this time, which is the big rumor). But the other Zelda game, which I am sad is even affiliated with the franchise, is called Hyrule Warriors . Yep, you guessed it. It’s Dynasty Warriors that has been re-skinned to make the characters look like first party heavy-hitters in the Nintendo world like Link and Zelda. Yay.
Holy Sh** Another Call of Duty!
Who didn’t see THAT coming. And of course, it was announced at the Microsoft press conference, ‘cause let’s face it, Microsoft really had nothing to bring to the table besides the Halo stuff this year, so they had to rely on Activision to save the day. While the trailer looks incredible, as they always do, I couldn’t help but think that this was just a prettier version of the same damned game we have all been playing since the Playstation 2. The funniest part of the whole thing for me was that I just kept laughing to myself and thinking, “They should’ve gotten Johnson from Halo to be in the game.” This trailer could have just as easily been like a UNSC Heroes game or something. It had dropships, holograms and a sort of cyberpunk setting. Oh and a bunch of random marines with futuristic assistive devices and weapons. So even though the game takes place (at least the trailer does) in Korea in the near future, it could have just as easily been a story about the initial invasion of the Covenant. Yay…another Call of Duty .
I am actually excited about this game. I loved the first two Fable titles and have wanted something that could create that sense of wonder that I felt the first time I played it again. Legends makes it look like the folks at Lionhead Studios took a serious nod from Blizzard when they went into production. It’s classic Fable with a twist. This time you can bring three friends with you and play through the adventure together. Then you can even bring a ‘villain’ into the mix. A real-time ‘game master’ who can control the combat tempo and tasks in real time. So not only do you get the awesome feeling of playing a solidly developed action/RPG title that feels familiar and yet fresh, you get to do it with friends that you may or may not know. Again, one of the few titles I am truly excited about the announcement of. But, just like every other great game shown, we have to wait until next year.
The Order, on Back-order
This is the first Sony Exclusive title that has truly blown us away. Ok, the Infamous games are pretty cool, but The Order 1886 is a brand-spankin’ new franchise with some very serious character. It combines the intensity and vibe of truly great survival horror while mixing it with incredibly well-rendered steampunk elements of design and implementation. Then stack that on top of the fact that it looks like a really solid shooter title and you have the recipe for an exclusive IP that people can get excited about. Sadly, there was only about three minutes shown and two and a half minutes of that was cinematic movements and the dude walking around. But at least it showed that there will be more control elements than just running around and shooting at everything for hours on end. Oh, and you get to fight werewolves. That alone makes me happy. But alas, we’ll wait until 2015 for the pleasure.
One other Sony exclusive title that was met with insane amounts of cheers at their press conference was LittleBigPlanet 3 . Why, you ask? A couple of reasons come to mind. First off, if you have ever played a LBP game then you understand how incredibly addictive they are. For those of you who haven’t, you’re missing out. Then you add in the standard of player-created levels that you can play through and it’s starting to feel familiar. Then they announced something completely fresh to the franchise. New characters and not just new outfits for Sackboy. The addition of Oddsock, Toggle and Swoop gives the players a four-player experience on the same screen in which each of the characters have to employ their various skills in order for the entire group to move forward. Basically what Sony has done is taken all the things we loved about the former titles in the series and given us new and exciting ways to play the next entry in the series. Bravo!
Borderlands is Back!
The announcement of the Borderlands Pre-Sequel game has got me all wub-wubbed up! As an avid player of the franchise and a serious fan of the Clap-Trap (that sounded kind of weird, didn’t it?), I am super-pumped about the eleventy-billion ways that we are all going to get to play the new Borderlands . New characters, new vehicles, new dubstep, flashmobs, multi-player and a butt-load of new weapons and maps. Bring it all in with the one thing every gamer loves (online play for all you dummies out there), and you’ve got yourself the recipe for what could possibly be the most incredible game ever made. Just kidding about the ‘ever made’ thing, but it’ll be pretty badass. You can bet on that. One of the things that gets me the most excited about it is the addition of low-gravity, space battles. That looks really fun. But actually, I am most amped up about being able to use Clap-Trap…finally. And it comes out THIS YEAR! There’s actually one awesome game coming out this year.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks incredible. Then Ubisoft dropped the bomb on us that you would be able to play through the game in up to four player cooperative mode. Now I am a huge fan of the AC series. I have played every single one of them multiple times. But I hated the online play when it finally came around because I thought, “Why the hell would I want to kill other assassins. Aren’t we all trying to get to the same end?” But multiplayer, kill-your-buddies mode reigned supreme as it did with all major titles last gen. But the announcement that I would be able to engage in the plot of the game with actual players assisting me while I do the same for them-all in service of a common goal? Well that got me a little more than excited. But alas, we will all have to wait until next year to see it or play it. And we will most likely be watching trailers for it at E3 again next year.
Last year the game that excited me the most was Tom Clancy’s The Division . It looked incredible, and the promise of true massive multiplayer online through my console really got me pumped up, especially since it was a Clancy shooter. But here I am, watching The Division being demoed…again. A whole year has gone by and we still have to wait until next year to get our hands on this game. We still have to wait until what will most conceivably be next year, Q#-4 before it becomes a reality. Even though it’s yet another game we’ll have to wait for, I remain cautiously optimistic that the scripted ‘gameplay’ trailer we all saw this year at the Microsoft press conference was actually pre-recorded, un-doctored, real gameplay and not just a pre-made tidbit so the clown at the conference could act like he was actually playing the game in front of us all.
Nintendo’s Big Announcement
I am not going to lie to you. I am totally pissed off at Nintendo right now. They phoned this year in, man. They had nothing to show us. No announcement of a new console or even any real updates about Wii U. No real Earth shattering announcements about hand-helds. No real announcements of games that may actually exist someday. Sure they talked about Giant Robot and Splatoon –both of which have potential. But honestly, everything just seemed so stale and haphazard, like Nintendo was merely there because they were supposed to be. This really could have been the year that they shined, since Sony and Microsoft had lame showings. They really could’ve wowed people with something new or some game or games that actually exploited the Wii U’s interface. But they didn’t. What did they announce? Amiibos . Seriously?! You’re ripping off Skylanders but making it so you can load the statue characters into any of the announced titles? Ok, it might be cool…but again, we wait until next year to find out.