It’s all over but the crying now.
This year’s E3 saw many highs and its fair share of lows. One thing felt different than the past few years however, and it started to bleed through into the conferences. This console generation is beginning to end. There were very few references that you might not have caught if you didn’t watch all of the conferences. However they were there, Todd Howard mentioned new games coming to the next generation. And, Microsoft boss Phil Spencer outright said the next generation is coming indicating the next wave of major console purchases are sooner than we initially expected. That’s enough of the light stuff though, its time to finally decide, once and for all, who won E3 2018, the list will cover all the conferences from worst to best. Let’s go.
Easily the worst conference of the year. Square’s press conference individually felt half-hearted at best. 30 minutes of unfulfilling video game clips featuring footage that we had seen already, and, in Kindom Hearts case, we only got an extended trailer from the one that was shown the day before. Overall it felt very lackluster and seemed to fall in on itself, none of the game demonstartions from the actual video were that memorable. It felt like Square Enix decided it would be best if their bigger games were shown on other stages and it was dissapointing to see. The trailers shown on other stages were incredible, but those don’t count for this presentation. Plus, there were way too many games missing for the shortest conference to make a splash.
To paraphrase a former president Bush. ” Read my lips, no new lootboxes.” This was basically the only theme of EA’s showcase this year as a few games showed fairly well. Anthem pleasently surprised me and I am genuinely much more excited for this game after seeing the presentation. The Q&A with the developers was a smart choice to explain the game well, they knew their area’s well enough to be able to explain it plainly to the audience and the details were genuinely very cool. The idea of a single player hub leading out to a much, much larger open world shared with the rest of the community is really, really cool. And, as cool as that game was Many of the other games did not show very well at all, Command and Conquer is the best example for this case because of how awkwardly the game was announced and how unimpressive it looked overall. The only advantage that Square Enix had in their presentation was that it was a video so it didn’t provide for as many awkward moments as this one.
Nintendo’s conference was bittersweet to say the least. The Super Smash Brother’s Ultimate reveal was amazing. Announcing every character ever playable is playable again was so surprising, along with the simultaneous announcements of Daisy and Ridley were what fans have been begging for, especially me. The graphics look amazing and every character has about five new layers of emotion that they go through every second of the battle, the overall aesthetic of the game is absolutely incredible and I am so excited to only play as Daisy in december. The thing is though, that is basically the only game they brought. No Metroid Prime 4, no Yoshi, no Bayonetta 3, no Pikmin 3, no Animal Crossing. This was a 45 minute presentation and 25 was spent on smash. The only other good news we got was that a new Mario Party is being released this year and it is finally going back to the old way before everyone was confined to a car. The Fire Emblem is a mixed bag because while the game looks phenominal and it took the best ideas from all of their past games (including the Warrior’s style game) to make it look phenominal. The only bad part is that it got pushed back to next year. Nintendo has a lot of bullets in the chamber and they didn’t fire many of them. Granted, the one or two, (depending on how big of a Mario Party fan you are) shots they did take were almost perfect. This is the first presentation on the list that really left a positive mark on their fanbase. This presentation just didn’t leave as great an impact as the second half of this list.
This year Sony took a small step backward with their presentation. It wasn’t a bad conference by any means. It just lacked the same punch as the higher rated entries on this list. The games that they showed were quality and held up very well in the showcase. The Last of Us II looks jaw dropping, Ghosts of Tsushima looked like good, but it also looked like a diet version of Shadows Die Twice, really undercutting this game from the hyped trailer it should have had. The smaller games shown in between were alright, there were some good games in the mix. Trover saves the universe seems like the video game version of Rick and Morty. The intermission lasting 15 minutes if not longer after only one game took all the wind out of the presentation’s sails. The setup was beautiful, and having the game shown in the same church as where the scene takes place is a really, really nice touch, but in the end the negatives outweighed the pros and Sony just didn’t put out its strongest show ever this year, plain and simple.
Ubisoft is an enigma, they always seem to be just turning that corner and learning their lesson but they trip right at the finish line and you only have yourself to blame for thinking things would change. Unfortunately not it would seem, as Assasin’s Creed has now returned to the realm of annual releases. While not necessarily a bad thing, this has reignited a lot of the assasins creed fatigue that we have seen over the past few years. Even when the game was taking its year off, the movie was coming out. So much of the gaming commuity is too polite to say it but we’re all tired of Assassin’s creed being everywhere. It’s like if you ate your favorite meal every day, you would get sick of it, even if the quality got better. Overall though, Ubisoft knows how to promote their games, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Skull and Bones, even the Mario + Rabbids DLC that i totally thought was out by now showed off really well. They would be higher on the list if they could just learn their lesson and start to let some of their franchises relax. Maybe next year instead of an Assassin’s creed game we get a new Splinter Cell, or SOMETHING different. Odyssey is going to be great but no one is going to appreciate it because it looks just like last year’s.
About 50 games shown, world premier trailers, and hitting every big mark they needed to really stay alive in this race, this presentation really had it all. I think Microsoft absolutely knocked it out of the park this year with their presentation. Starting with Halo, ending with Gears, and including Kingdom Hearts, Cuphead DLC, Devil May Cry, Crackdown, Dying Light 2, the Division 2, and they topped it all off with a Cyberpunk 2077 trailer that was more than i would have ever guessed we’d see at this E3. Microsoft is in real Dire Straits with the major flop this generation of the Xbox, and they took huge strides to make sure that they don’t reach this low of a point again. They announced the acquisitions of four new studios, making them first party, and also announcing the opening of a brand new microsoft development studio. Phil Spencer also looked extremely confident going forward about what they have, teasing the new Fable game that everyone already knows about, and beating Sony to the punch in getting hype going for the next console gemeration. Microsoft was doing everything they can to hit the reset button and gain all of its goodwill back from the gaming community, and for the most part, it worked. Good job Microsoft, you really knocked it out of the park this year.
This conference had it all, In a timely manner too. every game talked about with a firm release date was either finalized and ready to release by the end of the night or summer at the lastest. If there wasn’t a firm release date or even windo, there was more info promised to be given out soon, such as Doom Eternal and Quake Champions. Not only that but we got the confirmation of both Starfield AND elder scrolls VI. The rage announcement wasn’t afraid to take shots at walmart for the leak, (deservedly so.) Bethesda came out pounding their chests and talking about all accolades they have garnered recently, and while offputting at first, they have every right to do it because they back up what they say with quality. Last year’s E3 was undoubtedly rough for them, falling victim to major spoilers again. This year they owned it, ran with it, and showed why they currently are the best developers in gaming. Fallout 76, even though it is as promised, looks great and seems like a lot of fun to play with friends. It was a coin flip over who would get the top spot between Bethesda and Microsoft, but when i remembered i can ACTUALLY PLAY SKYRIM ON AN AMAZON ALEXA, i had to give it up to bethesda, turning an already impressive to into an even more impressive game. Bethesda softworks knows exactly what they are doing, they have their thumb on the pulse of the community and you can safely say that Bethesda is the one developer that you don’t have to worry about with their games.