This year’s E3 was an odd one, with several large publishers deciding not to hold their own conference session (even though all their games were shown off anyway); an uncharacteristically subdued hardware reveal for the next-gen Xbox (after Sony’s equally low-key PS5 spec reveal); and some high-profile guests that remind me it’s possible to have cross-media partnerships without resorting to rubbish game-to-movie adaptations (oh, and we discovered console fanboys are not the worst, Keanu Reeves fans are).
Playing catch-up after the conferences, I could be more selective with my viewing experience (filtering out anything sport-related) and was impressed with the sheer quantity and quality of games on show. Sure, you had the usual assortment of big-publisher games, with some impressive-looking new IPs and several now-obligatory sequels, but there was also space for mid-tier games, and a staggering number of indie titles that received too little attention during the main conference events.
Picking my highlight of the show is difficult, if only because this is the first year since 2015 that featured so many games I’m interested in. Cyberpunk continues to look as complex and engaging as I’d hoped for, with plenty of options to cater to your playstyle - though the default male character they’re using to show of the game has nothing on Mass Effect’s Shepard. The Outer Worlds continues to demonstrate you can create a great game on a budget, without needing to blow every last cent on flashy visuals and marketing. DOOM Eternal looks like more of DOOM (2016), and that’s no bad thing. The Final Fantasy VII remake looks incredible and the blend of real-time with ATB-style combat was a smart choice to please old and new players. That said, I still don’t know how an entire game set in Midgar will play out with severe changes to the story, but then who cares when you can rather pick up the Final Fantasy VIII remaster?!
I can’t think of any particularly disappointing announcements this year – certainly nothing as soul-crushing as watching a live gameplay session for Command & Conquer: Rivals – but there were a few disappointments. Watch Dogs Legion, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, and Gods & Monsters all look, on the surface, like wildly different and exciting games, but as Ubisoft games, it only takes few seconds go gameplay to see they basic structure will be the same as ever. Microsoft probably dissapointed me the most, not because I believe their upcoming games won’t be any good, but because they chose to show off just the intro scene for Halo Infinite, and only cinematic trailers for Gears 5. To their credit, the ID@Xbox presentation was a fantastic showcase for indie games.
Given E3 officially ends today, our question to the community this week is “what were your highlights and lowlights of E3 2019?” Do you still follow E3 in its entirety, or just wait for the flood of articles? Did Microsoft do enough to convince you they’ll competitive again next-gen? Do you have no idea what an “E3” is, and are just waiting on the next cryptic tweet from Hideo Kojima? Let us know in the comment below.
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Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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