Tuesday, June 13, 2017

E3 2017 Highlights

This is the first year in a long time that I've really dug deep into E3. It was interesting to watch all the press conferences, keep tabs on the fan reactions, and live tweet with each event. There was way too much shown over the course of the past few days to be able to summarize it all, so I've put together a list of my personal highlights from each show.

This was the only conference I missed. Watching the recap after the fact, there was only one game that stood out to me.
  • A Way Out - A story-driven co-op prison break game that looked really intriguing.
They didn't convince me to buy an Xbox One (or the new Xbox One X), but they did show a couple of games that are also releasing on PC that looked appealing.
  • The Last Night - A really cool-looking pixel art cyberpunk adventure. I should note that the developer was supposedly involved in some sort of controversy in the past that has made some people hesitant about this game. 
  • Code Vein - A slick action RPG that appears to be set in a post-apocalyptic vampire world.
  • Sea of Thieves - Reminds me a lot of a pirate mod I used to play for Battlefield 1942. Looks like it would be a lot of fun to assemble some friends to form a pirate crew.
  • Life Is Strange Before The Storm - A prequel to Life Is Strange! One of my favorite games that I played last year!
  • Anthem - Bioware's next game, a sci-fi adventure in which players explore an alien planet in Ironman-like power suits
This conference almost entirely focused on expansions to existing games. There was a reveal of a new Evil Within and a new Wolfenstein, but I didn't see enough of them to know if either one is for me.

I couldn't even get all the way through this awful conference that was more focused on jokes than actual games. I so disliked this one that I think it retroactively made me like Hotline Miami and Titan Souls less.

PC Gaming:
Longer and slower-paced than the other conferences, it mostly showed games that weren't really my thing, but there were a few exceptions:
  • Tunic - An isometric Zelda-like game starring a cartoon fox. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anything even resembling Zelda.
  • Grift Lands - A sci-fi RPG with really stylish comic book-like visuals.
  • War Groove - Very clearly inspired by Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, a turn-based RPG with a level editor. It's coming out for both PC and Switch.
This one was a surprisingly strong showing. It may have been the best conference of E3.
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - I never thought a mashup of Mario and Rayman's Raving Rabbids with gameplay in the style of XCOM would appeal to me, but this game looked great. I also really enjoyed seeing Shigeru Miyamoto and Yves Guillemot on stage together.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins - I don't have any prior experience with Assassin's Creed, but this one's ancient Egyptian setting and the inclusion of animal companions has piqued my interest.
  • Skull & Bones - A really pretty-looking game of pirate naval combat.
  • Beyond Good & Evil 2 - They only showed a cinematic trailer and didn't reveal any information regarding release date or platform, but I'm really excited that one of my favorite games of the Gamecube-PS2-Xbox era is finally getting a follow-up.
As somebody who doesn't own a PS4, this was the conference I was least invested in. However, I watched it anyway just to get a sense of what's going on in that part of the industry.
  •  Monster Hunter World - Hunting for dinosaurs in a lush jungle looks like it could be a lot of fun. This is the most interested I've been in a Monster Hunter title in quite some time. I was also glad to see this is getting a PC release.
  • Detroit: Become Human - A story-driven adventure about an android uprising in a future version of Detroit. Only a story trailer was shown, but what I saw looked interesting. Unfortunately for me, it's a PS4 exclusive.
  • Spider-Man - Another PS4 exclusive, this game looked really impressive and did a great job capturing the flow of Spider-Man's movements. The heavy reliance on QTEs (quick time events) does give me pause, however.
As a massive Nintendo fan, this is the one I was most excited for but I tried to keep my expectations in check. It was a tight 25 minutes of solid, but not mind-blowing stuff.
  • Xenoblade 2 - I loved the previous Xenoblade games, and this one is looking good. I was happy to hear the return of the UK voice-acting team and see that the release date was this year.
  • Pokemon Switch - We all knew it was only a matter of time. It's probably still a long way off, but I'm glad to hear confirmation of a Pokemon RPG for Switch.
  • Kirby and Yoshi - Two new 2D co-op platformers. Nothing revolutionary, but my wife and I really enjoy playing these together.
  • Metroid Prime 4 - They only showed a logo, but like with Pokemon, it was good to hear an announcement of something fans have been craving for a long time.
  • Super Mario Odyssey - It looks absolutely insane and I love it. Can't wait for this one.
  • Rocket League - It was awesome to see this get ported to Switch with cross-platform online play.
Though some people lamented that this E3 lacked the excitement of some of the shows of years past, I came away from it feeling like I have a lot of games to look forward to on my Switch and PC for the rest of this year and into 2018. If you're looking to catch up on things that were shown at E3 or see footage of any games I highlighted, I'd recommend checking out this handy website: e3recap.com

See below for some screenshots I took while watching the conferences:

Two industry icons sharing the stage
Skull & Bones looks really pretty
It's only been 15 years in the making, but I'm still excited about it

New Kirby co-op game
At least they finally announced it
Mexican Mario is the best Mario

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