E3 2018: The Good... The Bad... The Fuq?
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Another E3 is in the books, with this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo we get a glimpse at what the gaming landscape has to offer in the coming months and beyond. There were some euphoric highs but with all good things... there were also moments that fell short of my expectations. Here is my take on this year's E3... the good, the bad, and the what-da-fuqery.
First off, I like to start things on a high note so let's go over the good stuff. There were some amazing high-points to the show so I would be remiss if I were to only focus on the bad.
Devil May Cry 5 and the triumphant return, this announcement was one that completely threw me for a loop. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention to the gaming sphere or this news completely slipped by me... but I was not expecting a Devil May Cry game to be revealed, let alone an official sequel to Devil May Cry 4. While I am a bit let down that Capcom won't be exploring Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry universe further, I was a huge proponent for the reboot and thoroughly loved it, I am looking forward to Devil May Cry's return to form. It's hard to explain, but the Ninja Theory title lacked that certain je n'ais sais quoi that previous titles had.
Devil May Cry 4 brought us a new protagonist in Nero, a character I feel was never fully fleshed out and it felt like Capcom was abandoning him. I'm glad that the DMC5 trailer focused heavily on Nero with on;y a tease of Dante at the end. I know for sure this is a day-one pick-up for me, been a while since I satisfied my demon-killing itch.
In more Capcom news, the remake of my favorite Resident Evil title, Resident Evil 2, shocked me at the Sony conference. This is another example of me either not being in the know or this was sincerely a surprise. I had no idea they were working on a remake of RE2. Not just updated visuals, but the game looks to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Leon and Claire are given a modern makeover while still remaining aesthetically familiar. Claire ditches the sleeveless biker denim vest in favor of a more flattering moto-style leather jacket while Leon rocks a haircut that, while still similar, looks less like Leonardo DiCaprio's signature “penis-haircut” from the 90s.
While gameplay was scarce in the reveal, demos from the showfloor revealed how different the game would play. The zombie infested Racoon City Police Department never looked more terrifying. While I know that RE7 was an interesting take on the survival horror series, to me it never felt as satisfying as the old games I grew up with. Personally, I am hoping that this will be the first step in bringing back other classic PSOne era Resident Evil titles in a top to bottom remake, here's hoping RE3 is next.
Bethesda's whole shebang of a conference... damn near perfection! Aside from finally showcasing what we can expect from Fallout 76, a surprise teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI left fans gobsmacked as the conference came to a close. I'm interested to see what a multi-player Fallout title will be like and despite previous apprehensions I had that Fallout 76 would be a “PUBG/Fortnite clone” it is safe to say I am satisfied with what we got.
I love how they took in stride the fact that Skyrim was released on pretty much every platform since release and how they decided to just steer into the skid with the Skyrim Very Special Edition parody trailer... though, I wouldn't mind playing Skyrim on my Samsung smart fridge.
New York's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man on PS4 continues to push at my itch to play another stellar superhero franchise. With superheroes sitting at the forefront of media attention after Avenger's Infinity War destroyed expectations at the box office, I've been itching for another superhero brawler after Batman Arkham Knight. Visually, Spider-Man looks fantastic and looks like it plays incredibly fluidly. Looking like the a mix between the upward mobility of games like Sunset Overdrive and the Crackdown series with the fluid combat made popular by the Batman Arkham series and its rhythmic combat system.
There's still much I can't elaborate on until I get my hands on it for review, but I do know that this is one title I am jazzed to play come Fall.
More from Cyberpunk 2077 and a deeper dive into the game's world/lore. With CD Projekt Red ditching the high-fantasy world of The Witcher series and diving into a glittering cyberpunk fantasy world that looks to draw much from the media that influenced the genre. I again can't comment further until I can really get down with the game, but I gotta say that Cyberpunk 2077 is a good way to round out my favorite parts of E3... now onto the not quite great bits... ugh, I think I'm gonna need a drink.
Square Enix gave us a whole lotta... nothing with their conference. Sure, we finally have a release date for Kingdom Hearts III and three brand spanking new trailers, but that alone wasn't enough to save the conference for me. Aside from revealing some interesting stuff for Final Fantasy XIV and their mobile game Brave Exvius, we didn't get much in this super short presentation. Over in about half an hour, while this is way better than their “please be excited” moment from E3 2015... it's not better by much. In the time since Kingdom Hearts II and III, we've seen a whole console generation come and go and many franchises go full circle. After lengthy development cycles from games like Final Fantasy XV and with Kingdom Hearts III, I don't have much faith in my once favorite games publisher.
As for clueless, that title has to go to Microsoft and their whole conference in my eyes. While it's great that they showed off so many games in their conference along with some amazing indie titles. But some choices that feel safe without taking risks feels like the complete opposite from what it would take to dig their heels in and play on level ground with Sony. I'm sure that Microsoft could not have foreseen how much of a phenomenon Fortnite would be, but now Microsoft seems like they missed the bus putting so much effort into porting PUBG to Xbox One.
The biggest letdown for Microsoft's conference was the lack of exclusives. A new Halo game and another entry in the Gears of War franchise is all well and good... but Sony is killing it with their exclusives. Now, I know I talked about Cyberpunk 2077 up there... but once again that isn't a Microsoft exclusive, they have a big problem with releases and their release calendar for 2018 isn't looking very bright. I love my Xbox and I am a fan of their exclusives, but they really need to get their heads out of their ass if they plan to tango on even ground with Sony's Playstation 4.
But hey... as let down I was by the Microsoft conference, at least it wasn't EA. To call it lackluster would be kind, EA isn't very well liked right now. From being labeled as one of the worst companies in America, they go out of their way to destroy everything they touch. While their EA Originals label is something I do like, the rest of the whole company I cannot stand. From their tone-deaf response to the lootbox controversy to the blatant greed. Battlefield V was a lackluster showing, a series that used to be the anti-COD seems to be succumbing to the industry and following suit. While Battlefield V isn't pulling a full Call of Duty by dropping the campaign mode in favor of creating a glorified multiplayer title, they aren't taking enough risks to stand apart.
Respawn's Star Wars game announcement felt like a rushed response to attempt to appease fans. Star Wars Battlefront II was fucking garbage, EA and their greed has ruined this license. As for Respawn's Star Wars title, we got nothing more than what feels like a passing thought. Also, devoting time to Madden and FIFA with a cringe worthy presentation trying to make us feel like Madden eSports was a “thing” and we should care. The whole conference felt like an afterthought, EA even went out of their way to try and convince us that they aren't the evil conglomerate they are... but not today Satan, fool me once...
OKAY! So that covers my take on this year's E3. There is a lot to look forward to despite how letdown I felt by the most of the showings from the big stages. Even Sony didn't feel as big as they did last year. Microsoft gave me what I expected and (surprise surprise) EA is still shit. What were some of your favorite moments? Did you feel let down by the same stuff I was?