(NOTE: As with all reviews, this is an opinionated piece. Reader discretion is advised.)
Every year, we always try to crown one of the big three—Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo—as the “winner” of E3, otherwise determined to be the one that will end up getting the most money based off of everything they’ve shown. So for this analysis, I’m going to examine each conference and talk about the pros and cons to figure out where exactly each company finds themselves on the rankings, along with a rating.
Let’s begin, shall we?
After the blunder that was E3 2013 and the release of the Xbox One’s details…well, we all remember how Microsoft looked to be the worst of the big three last year. This year, they decided to make up for last year’s awful talks about TV content and the Xbone’s horrendous features to actually show off some games.
And hey, they didn’t do a bad job at all, even if there’s not necessarily that much to rant and rave about.
There were some corny in-between segments that occasionally popped up, but the games themselves definitely looked good. Sunset Overdrive and Scalebound look solid as hell, and many of the multiplatform games, like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed: Unity, appeared well on their way to being successful next-gen titles. The reveal of a reboot for Crackdown was also a pleasant surprise, which of course scores more points in Microsoft’s favor.
And the Master Chief collection for Halo? Not a bad idea, considering they’re all upgraded to 1080p, 60 frames per second. Including the online and multiplayer. Maybe the guy who presented will be able to get some practice and not get teabagged live in front of an audience.
All in all, the conference was definitely better than last year, even if it was because there wasn’t necessarily that much to report about. Xbone getting its own exclusives is a good thing for Microsoft, because it means the console has a better chance of making it in the gaming market.
Good on you, Microsoft. Keep it up and maybe you’ll be more consistent at winning E3.
The only real concern I had was that it appears as though Microsoft decided to move away from interactions with the Kinect, which is…weird. Maybe we’ll hear more this week that’ll change this.
+ Actually spent all of their time talking games!
+ Xbone exclusives all look quite solid and help flesh out the console’s bare bones.
+ Project Spark, which I neglected to talk about in detail above for various reasons (some pertaining to bitterness about Conker), is a great move from Microsoft Studios to offer their own level design game, since that’s a popular thing to do nowadays.
– The in-between segments were so corny they were stupid.
– HOW COULD YOU LIE TO US ABOUT CONKER, MICROSOFT?!
– Moving away from the Kinect seems…odd.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony didn’t really have to change anything that they did from last year, since whatever they did before one-upped the Xbone reveal. How could this year be any different?
Well, it’s simple, based on this E3’s press conference.
No offense, Sony. You guys convinced me you were legit several years ago by putting out incredible content for the PS3 that rivals the PS2 at times, and I’m certainly more than happy to stick up for you guys against Microsoft and (occasionally) Nintendo, but…I mean, come on. You have to at least change up your formula a little.
Let me explain. Sony usually starts off chucking a few games and having the devs talk for a while before talking about their device for 30+ minutes, and then ending the press conference with some minor updates and one big reveal. I literally went and made a checklist for this conference after watching the very end of it live, just to see if I was exactly right. And trust me, I was.
Not to say that it was a terrible conference. There were certainly some positive things that came out of this. And I can’t blam the conference to hell when you have certain titles that seem like they should make Sony “win” E3 by default.
For example, Little Big Planet 3. That was a pretty big reveal we all wanted to see, and we got it. And No Man’s Sky? Holy mother of God, it’s the Minecraft that I wanted Minecraft to be, after all this time…I shed a single tear after watching the trailer…
And the Grim Fandango remaster? Damn, that was a huge shot in the dark! Good job on getting that licensed, Sony!
But then there’s the rest of the conference to speak for. And while there were some cute things to talk about, like Abzu and Entwined, and of course Arkham Knight’s hype gameplay trailer, many of the things I saw were not really that impressive. Suda51’s title is…interesting, but not that compelling. Same goes for Dead Island 2 and Bloodbourne.
Then there was something about a Ratchet and Clank movie, and PlayStation TV, and I started being like, “Ok, Sony, wrap it up, come on.” But then it just kept going and showed graphical upgrades for GTA V and The Last of Us. And some episode of MGS 5 that looks confusing as all hell.
On top of that, the middle segment with Adam Boyes was just…brutal. I really came to hate him by the end of his segment, which is a real shame for Sony.
Thankfully, Sony took a page from Nintendo’s book to end their conference and revealed Uncharted 4, which left me still feeling optimistic for them, but still…sorry, guys, I think you’re going to lose out to both Microsoft and Nintendo this year at this rate, even with your range of developers.
+ No Man’s Sky and Little Big Planet 3 more than likely just moved an enormous amount of PS4 units.
+ Much of the exclusive content is well-designed and incentivizes the PS4 much better than one would imagine.
+ Excellent ending to the conference with Uncharted 4.
– Unfortunate technical difficulties with sound throughout the session made it hard to listen to what some developers had to say, since they just kept talking through the trouble.
– PlayStation TV and the Ratchet and Clank movie are pretty out of place for E3.
– Adam Boyes. I don’t really need to go on much further than that.
– Except I kind of do. Most other PS4 titles seemed either disinteresting or like they belonged on another platform (Xbone, PC).
Now you probably expected me to just hand Nintendo the crown after those two conferences. But I actually can’t, because I have to be brutally honest. This Nintendo conference—sorry, did I say conference? I meant Digital Event—went over very…interestingly.
Nintendo did not host a live conference, but instead a video of everything they’ve been working on with various developers. Many things, unfortunately, were trailers, but some of these trailers did feature gameplay. And we did get to hear a lot about new things that we wanted to see out of the first-party powerhouse.
Like Zelda Wii U. I could go on a rant about this game alone, and we only saw a short little cinematic thing.
Hyrule Warriors is out in September with that kind of quality? Sign me up immediately, because damn, man. Warrior Zelda and Impa. And that new girl that everyone’s kind of forgotten about. I’m hyped as hell to play this game and I’m not even close to owning a Wii U myself.
Yoshi’s Wooly World also looks incredibly pleasant, which is a good sign that families will enjoy it too.
But then there’s…everything else. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse? I didn’t exactly ask for a Canvas Curse sequel, guys. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker? I mean, I had it in the back of my mind that Captain Toad from Super Mario Galaxy would go on spelunking adventures, but not as a full game. Both of these titles appear to be eShop titles, so I’m crossing my fingers hoping that they’re not full releases. Because if they are…well, then they better be long.
Xenoblade Chronicles X also didn’t get to settle very well with me based off of the Digital Event alone. It was merely a trailer, and the lines being spoken didn’t exactly line up well with the action going on in the background.
Bayonetta getting Nintendo flavor is…cool, but eh. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire got some new details, but nothing too fancy to be completely honest with you.
And then there was Amiibo.
Amiibo is something Andrew is writing extensively about. The best I can tell you is to think of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, but Nintendofy it. Boom. Amiibo. Gotta buy ‘em all! (But hopefully not, because if I’m going to start getting gipped on game content because of these, I’m moving on to Sony and PC gaming for good.)
Nintendo also didn’t have to talk about Smash 4, but they did, and it’s cool what they added, but they could’ve just saved it for the invitational. And Sakurai dropped some hints about projects he was working on after his awkward moment of turning back to his work in the video.
Overall, Nintendo’s presentation was good, albeit there are still so many questions. They say to go to the Treehouse to learn more, but even then…I’m basing this on presentations alone, and you’re leaving me with so many questions. It leads me right to you to ask them, but if you’re just going to redirect me to some other stream, why should I really bother?
+ Solid gaming lineup with a presentation that proved you don’t have to spend that much time on a live performance to do well at E3. Shots fired, Sony and Microsoft.
+ Both Zelda titles are must-haves, from the looks of things.
+ I didn’t really talk about Splatoon during this interview, but it’s one of Nintendo’s new IPs coming to the Wii U, and it looks interesting. Definitely a cool approach to the people who enjoy shooters, while keeping it much more family-friendly.
– Amiibo glossed over Mario Party 10 (even if that series is getting really repetitive and I would’ve preferred Fortune Street 2), and also seems kind of…well, dumb. Even if Skylanders and Disney Infinity were successful.
– Leaving me with too many questions and directing me to the internet to find answers isn’t exactly the greatest way to handle things, Nintendo. I’m sorry.
– They reeeeeaaaaallllly should’ve saved Palutena and the Mii Fighters for the invitational.
So who won?
You might think I’m kidding, but if you look at my review scores, I outlined that this E3 was about the games, and damn were there a lot of really good games shown just within two days. And we’re still going!
While I know the big three are competing for your money, there’s something for everyone this year, and I think that means that those companies are the true winners for establishing such wonderful things for you all.
Because that’s what we really want as gamers, right? To have fun.