E3 Roundup! (Part 1)

So the Electronic Entertainment Expo just wrapped up in LA, and though we didn't get to attend, it's become extremely easy to follow the action thanks to livestreaming, YouTube, and the like. So, let's talk E3, starting off with the Big 3:

Sony

I guess the biggest trailer was The Last of Us 2, and it certainly looks beautiful, with an intense trailer and standout sound design (so often overlooked in gaming). I will make a horrifying admission, though: I never played the first game. I know, it's legendarily good, but it's not really the style of game I enjoy, and I just haven't gotten around to it. This new trailer was phenomenal, but I'm not sure it will be enough to get me interested in investing in the series.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is another entry in a hugely popular series, and sadly one I don't really care about. I've never been a huge Disney fan, nor a JRPG fan, so there's not much here for me to get excited about. I guess it looks good? I dunno.

Spiderman certainly seems to be treating Mr Parker extremely well. As always, you've got to be excited about moving through New York, swinging from building to building. But I'm afraid the gameplay is going to fall into the trap of so many 3rd person action games of the last few years, and be another Arkham Asylum clone. The combat is obviously heavily inspired, so they're gonna need to really add a lot of extra layers to make it feel like more than a rehash with a new coat of paint.

Probably the most exciting trailer for me was Ghost of Tsushima; I'm a huge fan of the Way of the Samurai series, and it felt like it was really pulling from those games for its setting and style. My biggest complaint is that there don't seem to be enough one hit kills--this is something dating back to the Bushido Blade series that I've always loved. If you're fighting with katanas, one good hit should finish off your opponent. There are a handful of these in the trailer, though they seem more like QTEs or stealth kills. I'm sure I'll be disappointed and it will turn into a God of War clone, but still...style counts for something at least.

Overall, kind of a big 'meh' from me. A couple of games that I might try and pick up, but certainly nothing to get super excited about.

Microsoft

They threw a lot at us this year, so I won't touch on it all. In fact, I'm skipping over the headliners entirely: Halo Infinite, Gears of War 5, and Devil May Cry 5. I don't care. I'm sorry, I just don't care. New, prettier graphics for three series that have never been particularly interesting. So let's move on to the good stuff.

A new Forza, and it will be on PC this time. The racing game nerd inside me rejoices, though the PC gaming nerd knows that there's a 95% chance it will be a buggy, un-optimized mess on PC. But if it runs well, it will probably be a good pickup; not enough to make me want an Xbone though.

A new Crackdown game makes me all bubbly inside (doubly so if Terry Crews is involved). I love games that don't take themselves to seriously, and let the player get away with being a overpowered ridiculous death machine. So yeah, super interested, though again, I'm not sure it will be enough to make me want to invest in a new console.

A new Battletoads game! Though I'm terrified they'll make it too easy to appease modern sensibilities. I mean, nothing wrong with streamlined controls, interface, etc. But please, let's make some Nintendo-hard games, please.

The huge standout for Microsoft in my book, and hopefully it will be in a lot of others, is Cyberpunk 2077. As I said above, there is a lot to be said for style, and this trailer is just oozing. Very strong Deus Ex vibe (the original masterpiece, not the watered down DLC-fests they've made recently). Obviously was just a cinematic trailer (Come on Microsoft! Give us more GAMEPLAY PLZKTHX) but in my head-canon this is going to be a Watch_Dogs-style open world romp using future tech in creative ways. And hey, it's from the team that made The Witcher games, so it's gonna be good, right? Right?

Still, an overall good showing from Microsoft, and while I do wish I had an Xbox to get in on some of these, I'm confident at least some will be cross platform or at least end up on my PC.

Nintendo

With really just one exception, the Big N disappointed nearly as much as Sony. Naturally, they announced Fortnite, because OF COURSE THEY DID. It needs to be on all platforms ASAP before everyone stops playing it in 3 months and moves on to the next big thing. More exciting was a little bit of love thrown towards third party and indie stuff on the eShop, which the Switch sorely needs to exploit more in the next year.

Super Mario Party? Yeah, I mean, I guess? It's a guilty pleasure series, but I don't see it being worth bothering with unless you know someone else with a second switch. Pokemon Let's Go! is another "I guess?" from me. Not a full blown, main series Pokemon game, which really, REALLY, REALLY needed to be a launch title for the Switch. It might be cute, but eh...gimme the main series game now please Reggie.

The big news for sure, and the savior of Nintendo's presentation, had to be Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I'm not a hardcore fanatic of the series, though I do agree Melee had the best overall combat. In this case, I'll put my trust in the devs that they can deliver a satisfying engine that plays well on the Switch. But oh my goodness gracious...EVER CHARACTER EVER. YES PLEASE.

Again, overall pretty underwhelming, but Nintendo is more interested in dropping bombs at their own events than E3, so that's understandable. We still need a damn virtual console though, Reggie. Make it happen.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

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