Unrequested Thoughts on E3

So E3 was this last week and I spent too much time streaming it. It is always a good time. Now it is time for me to share my thoughts about everything I saw, since I am sure that everyone is waiting with baited breath to hear what I think. Last year I was blown away by Nintendo’s excellent Direct while Sony and Microsoft bumbled through awkward and disappointing presentations. This year there was not such a clear cut winner, but there was still a lot of good stuff to see.

If I had to pick a “winner” of the show, it would be Sony. They had the most exciting stuff to show, though most of it won’t be anywhere near store shelves until next year at the earliest. Still, the announcement of a remake of FFVII is plenty exciting. FFVII is not the best game in the series, and it has a lot of moments that won’t really translated into HD all that well, but it is still an intriguing prospect, even if just to see how modern Square Enix deals with the work of the old Squaresoft. They also finally showed more of the long delayed The Last Guardian. That game has me very close to wanting to get a PS4, though like many people who bought a PS3 to play that same game I will wait until it is out to make the jump. Unless, of course, something else pushes me over the edge first. Sony also announced a Kickstarter for Shenmue 3. I have no attachment to that series, but the overwhelming success of the campaign is amazing. I’m not sure how much I like a company the size of Sony using Kickstarter to fund a game, but if that is the only way the game can get made no big deal. Horizon: Zero Dawn also looked very good. I want to know more about how the game will work, but what they showed was impressive. Too much of Sony’s stuff was really far off, but I definitely want to play a lot of it.

Microsoft actually showed some good stuff this year. Backwards compatibility is a nice addition, though it is both very late and seemingly not very well supported. Still, it is a smart move. They also announced a Rare compilation. Sure, they haven’t made a good game in about a decade, but they have some really great stuff from the 80’s and 90’s. I am disappointed to see that it won’t have any Wizards and Warriors games, but a lot of their N64 games were good and some of their NES games were excellent. I always really liked Solar Jetman. Their indie exclusive Cuphead was one of the best looking games of the show, with amazing looking 30’s style animation. There was also ReCore, from Keiji Inafune, which looks promising, if far off. Most of the rest of Mircosoft’s offerings continued to not interest me much, but at least this was a positive showing.

Nintendo’s E3 has been met with considerable cries disappointment, but I can’t say I agree with the people who found it so. No, they didn’t match last year’s show. Last year had them firing desperately on all cylinders, showing off some new games, like Splatoon and Codename STEAM, as well as new games from favorite series, like Kirby, Star Fox and Legend of Zelda. This year they didn’t have all that, Nintendo stuck to mostly what they have coming out the rest of this year. Unfortunately, a lot of that stuff was shown last year. They had some intriguing new 3DS games, but the only new WiiU offering they had was a new Mario Tennis, likely fun but certainly not exciting. Still, Nintendo definitely had the most stuff that I will play before next year’s E3. If you include the Smash Bros stuff and the Nintendo World Championship, Nintendo had a more than good show.

The WiiU might be heading for a premature grave, but Nintendo has got a solid slate coming out this fall. Fatal Frame 5 is supposedly coming this fall, as is Devil’s Third. Neither of those are really up my alley, but they both could be solid games. They also have the much anticipated Xenoblade X and Yoshi’s Wooly World. Those were both focuses of last year’s show and they still look great this year. They blew the lid off the new Star Fox game, now named Star Fox Zero, also due late this year and it looks excellent. The most exciting thing they showed for the system was Super Mario Maker, which just keeps adding interesting features. The crazy stuff they made for the NWC was mind blowing. The sheer wealth of options in that game is promising, even if I don’t expect most people to create anything truly fun with it. Still, the cream of that crop is sure to be magical. The most baffling showing they had for the system was for Genei Ibunroku #FE, formerly known as SMT vs FE. It is not at all what I expected from a combination of those two series. It looks like it will play like the recent Persona games, which I love, but with the mythical persona’s replaced with Fire Emblem characters. The story stuff looks dumb, but it might be still be highly entertaining. Other than that game, I think everything else they showed for the WiiU is due out in 2015. Does that mean that Nintendo doesn’t have anything else in the pipeline for the WiiU after this year, other than Zelda? I hope not, but it seems possible. The continued sales failure of the WiiU is disappointing, since the system has about the best array of exclusives this side of the Dreamcast.

Most of Nintendo’s big announcements were for 3DS, which before this was looking to have slim offerings coming this fall. The addition of Zelda Triforce Heroes, an updated take on Four Swords, is something I’ve really wanted. The Four Swords games were hampered by the technology for playing them (really, who had 4 GBAs and link cable to play the Gamecube one?) but were sublime experiences in the right circumstances. They also announced Mario & Luigi Paper Jam, a combination of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series. The concept is just great, even if the last games in each series were a little disappointing. The third new game, Metroid Prime Federation Force, has generated a lot of complaints from whiny pissbabies. It is not a “true” Metroid game, instead being a co-op shooter starring generic space marines. It is not necessarily what I wanted from a new Metroid game, but reaction it has gotten is comical.

In all, it was a really good show this year. No one really blew me away, but neither did any one crap the bed. I am still not completely sold on the idea of getting a PS4 or XBOne, though I am leaning somewhat closer to picking up a PS4. Honestly, I am still more than happy with my Nintendo systems and PS3. With the big N’s second half offerings and Yakuza 5 and Persona 5 on PS3, I see no need to rush to upgrade.

Top 5 Games of E3 2015:

  1. Super Mario Maker
  2. Cuphead
  3. The Last Guardian
  4. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  5. Star Fox Zero

One thought on “Unrequested Thoughts on E3

  1. I have to say that is a very well-argued, fair and balanced round-up, so kudos! Pretty much echoed my thoughts. The Wii U line-up is definitely very strong, even if I’m more excited by Star Fox than Mario Maker. Finally, the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter announcement… I know they’re not asking fans to fund the development ($2 million is far too low for what they’re going to do) but regardless, it’s a pretty shameful way of going about things in my opinion.

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