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Best of E3 2016 'Muk Edition


Who Won E3?  

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After Nintendo (rightly) being criticised for having nothing to show, it's amazing that the one thing they did show seems to have roundly won E3. Zelda looks like everything everyone has been wishing for for the last 10 years in one highly polished package. I genuinely can't wait.


Apart from that, I'll be Day One for The Last Guardian and Cuphead. Everything else I was interested in is either too far off yet (Spiderman, God of War) or I need to see more to be convinced (Prey 2, Resident Evil 7).

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I only really tuned in for conferences from the big three, and kind of looked at other trailers outside of the conferences a little while later. I thought that both Microsoft and Sony had really strong showings and were committed to showing loads of games to people, rather than going on about TV or statistics or other nonsense. That Microsoft would show more Killer Instinct, more Gears and more Forza was never in doubt, but KI still looks fun, Forza is one of the most visually striking things I saw in any conference, and Gears looks great if you like Gears :P The biggest prediction failure from me also came in the MS show, when I saw Heihachi squaring up to Akuma and was convinced Tekken X SF had been rescued from development hell, but it was in fact T7. :P I skipped Minecraft. Scalebound seemed oddly unexciting from what they showed - ineffective bow attacks and sluggish dragon controls somehow don't seem as exciting as, say, the flashy combos of Nier Automata. On the hardware side...well, Xbone S and Scorpio were some of the worst-kept E3 secrets, but nevertheless it was bold of MS to make the first move.


As I mentioned, Sony took a slightly similar approach to Microsoft and focused on showing off lots of interesting new games stuff. God of War still looks as ridiculous as ever though, except now Kratos has gone from "angry shouty man" to "dickhead dad with beard" and somehow made me dislike him even more. Who wants to play a game where the most one-dimensional character in gaming now has a "easily displeased grump" streak to his personality? :P Horizon was one of the more interesting showings in the conference, with a great environment, nice enemy-vulnerability scanning stuff and big beasts and things. And generally I'm just glad that Guerrilla have finally stepped away from the drabness of Killzone. Speaking of interesting, Detroit could be that - I liked the setup of what they showed, but being Quantic Dream they're probably going to fuck it up with future space monks and creepy shower scenes or something. I went afk during Crash and Lego. Kojima had the best intro of E3 but I don't know what to make of his game just yet...


Initially I wasn't even going to watch Nintendo's show - most of their old franchises (Zelda, Kid Icarus, Metroid, the RPG Marios, Smash, Pokemon, Pilotwings) are ones I've never had any interest in and I had a feeling Nintendo would be showing a lot of new games in old franchises. Eventually I conceded and went to find a stream of Nintendo but I must have tuned in at the wrong time because I found myself in the middle of the 150 hour Zelda treehouse and wondered where all the other games were. Having since looked at trailers for those other games via Nintendo's own YouTube channel the lineup is a little more interesting than I first thought, but it was only stuff like Rhythm Heaven and BoxBoxBoy that held any kind of interest.


MS's show was great though. Sony's was good as well. And if you like Zelda, Nintendo's was amazing. As for the games I'm picking up...well, I might not be picking up that many as I've been considering saving towards PSVR, shonky pre-Neo mess and all. Still, as a PS4 owner I have an eye on Nier, No Man's Sky and P5 (none of which got much conference time. Yay!)

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Zelda was amazing. Nintendo didn't need to show anything else, that sold me on a day one NX purchase. Sony's conference was great as well, loads of games, and not much talk, even if a fair amount of the games were not my thing, it's the right way to do these events.


EA's press conference was a car crash worth watching for it's ineptitude. brilliant.


The highlight for me was discovering Easy Allies, their stream was great to watch the conferences on, as they seem to be right on my wavelength and as VN1X said, was brilliant to have some enthusiasm and excitement about the announcements, as well as some cynicism when it was deserved. When the presenters mentioned "behind the scenes" and they were begging them not to show a guy sat at his desk with a mouse, it was what we all knew was coming, and what none of us wanted to see.


Enjoyed E3 this year more than I thought I would, I now I will hold off till next year to upgrade me creaky PS3 and probably go NX and Neo.

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All I wanted from E3 was to see Dishonored 2 in motion, and it was everything and more than I wanted.


I also wanted to see what Inside would be like, and it looks fantastic. Thankgod it's released at the end of the month. I can't wait to play it.


The new Deus Ex also looked superb, as does the new Forza Horizon 3.


Zelda looks stunning, as does the water from Sea of Thieves.

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Zelda was better than I was expecting, which was a lot. So that obviously takes top spot.


Surprises were Forza Horizon 3 looking as fun and vibrant as it did, and the COD demonstration.


Wanted to see more of Nier Automata, The Last Guardian, Thumper Rhythm Hell and BoxBoxBoy!! They all look brilliant.


Half interested in Sea of Thieves, South Park, ABZU, Rhythm Heaven Megamix, Paper Mario and Titanfall 2.


Everything else I've already filed under £50 shiny-loud-game with eventual slo-motion TV advert.

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The Kojima thing was my obvious highlight, in large part because nobody expected him to be demoing anything and in large part because his intro was hilariously overdone. It's so rare for an E3 press thing to aim for bombastic and actually pull it off.

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All the best stuff for me wasn't at the conferences, apart from Last Guardian, but shown in trailers afterwards: NIOH, Gravity Rush 2, Nier, Persona 5.


I also was interested in seeing some more PSVR games and feel fairly content with the titles for launch, but would probably like some more arcade experiences. 


Robinson: The Journey looks like it'll transport you to a world of dinosaurs even better than the Texas Instruments Voyager did for me in the 90's. That Mars shooting game too. Statik has some strong Portal aesthetics too, which I like.


Resident Evil 7 needs special mention too for being one of the most audacious reveals ever - hidden in plain sight demoed as Kitchen for over a year.

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I'm not a huge comic book or superhero fan, but I've been crying out for someone big to give Spiderman a go.  I had a really rather lovely weekend ten odd years back with Spiderman 2 on the PS2 but it always seemed like the start of something rather than the finished article; it was surprisingly good rather than actually good if you get me.  Along with literally everyone I had confused Sucker Punch with Insomniac, so the decision to not give it to the team that have been making leap-around-a-city-'em-ups for a decade seems a little odd, but we'll go with it.


Lord only knows what's going on in Death Stranding, but given that my main criticism of The Phantom Pain is that it's not bonkers enough, seeing Kojima ramp up the what the fucks was a highlight.  I had originally assumed that this was Silent Hills in all but name; reports seem to suggest that this isn't the case, but I still expect that we'll see a few ideas that were rescued from Konami’s shredder. 


I love a good dystopia me, and We Happy Few looks like a very good dystopia indeed.  In fact, it pushes so many of my buttons it looks like the kind of thing I'd try and make if I wasn't talentless and incredibly lazy. My only concern is 'From the makers of Contrast!' but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now. 


Zelda wins it though of course.  So different and yet so instantly familiar.  This is going to sound ridiculous but I can pretty much track the main events in my life dependent on the Zelda I was playing at the time.  As a series it's so incredibly special to me; like a hug off my Mum. As long as they keep making them, I'll keep excitedly blabbering about them. Get it in my house. 


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Overall it was just kind of "nice" I guess, there were some devs where I liked their last game and was pleased they had something new that looked interesting, but generally the main conferences were a lot of games that followed the trends of the industry and just looked pretty standard and predictable. Even Zelda, much of the celebration was that it was borrowing features from other games and following predictable industry trends rather than Nintendo being in a vacuum.


Death Stranding was the highlight because it looked different and enigmatic, and even if it ends up being the Division with Space Marines will likely have a good deal more personality than most games.

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EA: Were shit. They had two games (Titanfall and Battlefield), and 40 wasted minutes between them. In their favour Titanfall looks amazing, I'm incredibly excited about Battlefield and the drama piece announcing FIFA story mode was really funny. Not as funny as the live stream of Battlefield though, with all the celebrities on drugs. Points for doing something cool with the Battlefield stream afterwards, even though the execution was pretty poor. Too much boring talking from awkward executives.


Bethesda: Weirdly balanced. I don't like the thing they do where the whole second half is one game when the game isn't a new announcement. They should've saved Prey for the end. I'll buy Skyrim but it's not exciting. Dishonored 2 looks amazing and I'm a massive fan of the first game so I'm very excited, but I've seen enough of it now. Too much boring talking from awkward executives.


Microsoft: Was confusing. I've been waiting for a few Xbox exclusives to get me tempted, and was disappointed by the lack of Crackdown 3. Even so, Recore is gorgeous and Sea of Thieves looks like a proper system seller for me. After the great price at the start, I was all hyped for the slim Xbox, which made the end annoying. Now I feel like I shouldn't buy an Xbox until the fancy one is released, but after the closure of Fable and Project Spark I'm worried that if it doesn't perform I might totally miss my window to play it. Too much boring talking from awkward executives and way too many mentions of the exact same corporately mandated paragraph about Xbox play anywhere.


Ubisoft: Aisha is great, but the South Park segment was too long and dull, it felt like EA. I am super excited about the game though, I liked the first one a lot. I just don't think Matt and Trey work well in that setting, and I'm starting to find their humour a bit tiring. I'm super optimistic about Wildlands, For Honour looks brilliant and Steep was a great surprise to end on and one of my Highlights of the whole conference. Watch Dogs looks like a lovely world with nice mechanics, but I got a real Sunset Overdrive, corporately designed cool feeling from it. The characters all seemed like cunts. Major points to Ubi for again being the only people smart enough to hire a professional presenter instead of embarrassing their executives and developers.


Sony: God of War! Great opening and a super cool looking soft reboot for a series I give very few shits about. Days Gone looked dull except for the giant horde of zombies, which was super cool. Concerned about the story, mechanics and actual structure. Horizon looks absolutely beautiful and I'm in love with it until the idiots open their boring mouths. I teared up slightly at the Last Guardian trailer. Resi 7 looks ok, like a steam game I'd be too scared to install and play, but definitely better than the shit they've been shitting all over the franchise for years. Spider-Man might be nice if it is real and not pre-rendered. KOJIMA. HAS. REVEALED. An acceptably low level of boring talking from awkward executives, especially with the massive number of trailers.


Nintendo: I am in love with the new Zelda game, but it's ages away and I'm still generally bored by and apathetic towards Nintendo. Didn't watch their weird stream and wish they'd do a proper conference and stop being dicks about e3.


It was a good E3 overall. 


Most exciting games:

1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2: Battlefield 1
3: Steep
4: The Last Guardian
5: Titanfall 2

Best trailers:

1: Death Stranding
2: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3: Sea of Thieves
4: Titanfall 2
5: Prey


Overall e3 score: 8/10

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Zelda was the obvious highlight. It looks better than I could have imagined.


I appreciated the fact that Sony's conference was short and focused almost entirely on games, but none of the big reveals did much for me. God of War trading in its fast-paced action for plodding narrative was disappointing, and it got worse with Detroit and Days Gone. I'm hopeful that Horizon might actually be fun to play, provided it isn't a bloated open-world collectathon, and provided there's an option to mute the characters - I felt like this trailer could have been delivered in Esperanto and I would have got more from it.


The games I had wanted to see more of in the MS conference - Scalebound and Recore - were both disappointing. I'm still hopeful for the former, less so the latter. Sea of Thieves is exciting, but not enough, and the more MS ties up the Xbox brand with the Windows storefront and UWP the less I want to do with it.


Outside of the main conferences, however, there was plenty that I liked the look of. Bound and Gravity Rush 2 look beautiful. Nier Automata more than makes up for Scalebound's poor showing. And Paper Mario: Colour Splash was a really pleasant surprise (I'd totally forgotten it existed). Cuphead continues to look amazing.


And only today I picked up on Absolver, a strange mix of God Hand, Zeno Clash and Souls, which looks absolutely superb:



Zelda aside, this might actually be my highlight of the show.

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