This E3 has been one of few truly great reveals for me. I’m happy to have seen gameplay of some of my favourite things from the show floor, and there were some things that looked pretty great.
EA’s livestreams gave us a look at Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay, and it looks like a modern day Force Unleashed in terms of combat options and visuals, and using Kashyyyk as the place to show off allowed them to show off a previously seen location in a new era.
All good then, as did the look at Battlefield V’s latest content and the new pack for The Sims 4, which offers a tropical location to visit along with the usual new careers and extras. Most of that Saturday was taken up with the Nintendo Championships for me, and… it almost lost me.
Nintendo showed quite a bit, bookending the Direct (not counting the one more thing) with Smash DLC. First shown was the Dragon Quest Hero, with every mainline hero looking to be a skin for this one character.
Then for the last thing they followed on from the King K. Rool reveal with another troll. This time Duck Hunt Dog pretending to be Banjo and Kazooie, before the duo come crashing down themselves.
While the Dragon Quest reveal was followed by a Dragon Quest XI Definitive trailer, we didn’t get anything for the Banjo and Kazooie one. There was plenty of other things to get stuck in to, though.
Before we got into all that, Doug Bowser was introduced with a nice gag of the real Bowser showing up. Pokémon Sword and Shield got a recap of its Direct, but also announced that the Pokéball Plus would work with the games.
Ubisoft were… fine. It started off well enough with an Assassin’s Creed Symphony preview – a tour playing plenty of songs from the series. There were a few other things within, and they knew what they were doing by putting a new Watch Dogs first, but it was mostly Tom Clancy: The Conference.
We got Division 2 expansions with some free play days coming soon. A mobile game in Elite Squad. Ghost Recon Breakpoint announced. Rainbow Six: Quarantine bringing PvE co-op action. Rainbow Six: Siege content Clutch Royale.
And for me it was all the weakest part. Trailers split up to allow some talking in-between or talking when showing things would be just as good. And they mentioned that the movie was coming to Netflix.
Microsoft, you knew what you were doing with this. Very little talk, and a lot of action. Plenty of games shown with trailers, some services news, and building the hype for that new console. The conference felt fast and fluid, and the announcements that I was waiting for certainly arrived.
There was The Outer Worlds, Bleeding Edge, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Battletoads, Spiritfarer, and Blair Witch starting things off, along with a new trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Minecraft Dungeons got announced, which looks to be a fun mystery dungeon game playable with friends.
It’s E3 time again! Sony are a no-show, and EA have decided to change how they do things again (is that a tradition for them, now?) by having a livestream from the floor instead of a conference, though everyone else is here.
Bethesda, Devolver, and Square-Enix return, Ubisoft is present as always, and Microsoft is looking one to watch with that roughly two-hour presentation. Then there’s Nintendo, who is going all-out once again with the usual three days of Treehouse streams, a Direct presentation, and a whole day full of Championships. They’re going to be one to watch, but let’s save the best for last.
With E3 finished for another year, Microsoft won out. Nintendo had the bomb-shell of a new Super Smash Bros., but they failed to hold any interest after showing it off in the Direct for twenty-five minutes.
And that wasn’t helped at all by the fact across the three days of Treehouse they showcased it for more than four hours total – not including the Smash Bros. Invitational which would add more than two hours to that total. I wouldn’t have minded as much if there was a showcase of different modes.
Nintendo gave little within their Direct, but really? Smash Bros. Ultimate is pretty all that was needed. There was a recap of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee, with a reveal that the Pokéball Plus holds a Mew inside when you first buy it. A new mech game was shown off called Daemon x Machina, and DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 called Torna – The Golden Country was shown.
As for everything not Smash, Fire Emblem for Switch has been dated with a Spring 2019 release. It looks to be a larger upgrade in terms of visuals to the 3DS games, and the battles seem larger as well. It has the name of Three Houses, which seems to tie into the concept of the game.
Ubisoft delivered. There was enough here for me, and enough hype moments. As ever a live dance performance advertises Just Dance at the beginning. The Division 2 has raids and three DLCs that are free for everyone.
The VR game Transference was here, and For Honor was talked about for its new expansion and the fact they are allowing the PC version to go free until 18/June. Rainbow Six: Siege was also here but exclusively as eSport material. A documentary following eight players was shown off. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey had quite a bit of focus with some gameplay.
Microsoft hit it out of the conference centre and all the way to the UK. That is how you do a presentation. While they cheated a bit the same as last year – saying there would be a massive amount of games yet a number of them being in a highlight reel – it was definitely solid. A few of those games in the highlight reel were Outer Wilds, Wargroove, Below, Generation Zero, The Golf Club, and Afterparty.
And speaking of the parts that fell short – what was the point of saying there would be Battlefield V story content at this conference, EA, if it was just a trailer as long as the one you showcased at your own conference? You could find time to show gameplay footage of a mobile game but not fit an extra minute or two onto a trailer for one of your biggest games of the year?
EA felt like an unbalanced board, having good stuff to show but at the same time filling it with parts that weren’t needed. I’m not going into hating on the sports games, but with NBA and Madden, it felt like the only reason they were there was to show that they are there.
There isn’t a need to do that. We already know they are coming. At least with FIFA they had some actual news – the fact that the UEFA is now included in the roster of leagues available. Even the World Cup of FIFA 18 tied into that – having a free trial for people to play.