E3 has become the showcase of the gaming community, the arena where Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo along with a whole other host of developers flex their gaming might and muscles to woo us. Having followed the live streams, watched the press conferences and game videos have I been left impressed or underwhelmed?
Up first was the Microsoft Xbox E3 press conference, I was particularly keen to see what new treats would be in store as I have owned all the generations of Xbox thus far. The first big announcement was the Xbox one X, billed as the world’s most powerful console and given the worldwide release date of November 7th. Now as the spec list was read off, I found myself lost in a sea of numbers and words that would only make sense to engineers or people who look beyond the game itself, so for the casual gamer it would be confusing and not that all interesting. One point I found that was hammered home was the ability to now play in True 4k, it was mentioned in nearly every game trailer, and while I approve of games looking better graphically and running at 60FPS (even though the only game that is guaranteed to run at 60FPS and be in 4K is Forza 7), it seemed to me that it was the only feature they were concerned with, overlooking the fact not all gamers will have a 4K TV. And with the price being mentioned at a steep £499, for what amounts to a graphical upgrade to the current Xbox system, it simply isn’t worth the money.
Now a few games did attract my attention during the conference, the new Metro Exodus game looks fantastic and seems to be an attractive piece for Xbox gamers, using the open world setting for the first time and taking full advantage of the 4k on offer but now it remains to be seen if Metro Exodus lives up to the standard set by the 2 previous Metro titles.
Forza 7 looks as crisp and exciting as it ever has, everything from the dynamic weather to the superb detailing of the cars has me interested in this title, but apart from those two titles there wasn’t much left to make me sit up and invest anymore of my time in what Microsoft had to offer.
With only a slim picking of new titles, constant 4k plugging and the assurance that all my current Xbox one games can now be in “true 4k”, made me feel like they were say “here, now buy the real version”. For all their talk of power Microsoft made me feel like I was getting the most powerful gun on the battlefield but with little to no ammo for it.
Up next was Sony with their attempt to charm the gaming world, now as far as openings go whomever works at Sony deserves a pay rise, because right from when the lights dimmed it was show time. The gentle rustle of eastern music set to the backdrop of a cascading waterfall of gravel had me hooked right from the start. Though this was only the beginning I moved forward with hope and a slight feeling of trepidation.
Opening with a game trailer for Uncharted the Lost Legacy which looked more like a big budget movie trailer than one designed for a game, while the graphics didn’t look just as enticing as the Xbox, it seemed to pack a lot more into the game. Not missing a beat, the next trailer to premiere was for Horizon Zero Dawn, and oh by the swaying balls of Zeus did I want to get my hands on a copy of this game. We were only two trailers into Sony’s Press conference and already have had more gaming content than all of Microsoft, though let us judge Sony on their own merit and for now not compare them to Microsoft.(It’s more dinosaur fighting, we know you’ll buy it!)
As the Rep from PlayStation took to the stage to sell us the features he spent a mere five minutes telling us about VR, 4K and what I found a pleasant touch he thanked the gamers and it felt like a sincere nod to the gamers from Sony. After this brief talk he lined up yet another game trailer. Sony have really impressed me this year, with the sheer amount of content, they did not come across self-indulgent, with talk of what their console is capable of or how it’s the best and most powerful. Sony have showed us that they don’t need to shout to be heard because they can let their games do the talking.
The 3rd and final entrant looking to make a mark on this year’s E3 conference was Nintendo, an often-considered outsider to Microsoft and Sony but with the uncanny ability to make stories that last lifetimes. So, let’s dive right in, it was an upbeat and vibrant start for Nintendo, showing groups of people playing together on the Nintendo Switch, community seemed to be the theme they started with. Now, Nintendo’s games have always had an air of childish whimsy to them, and the new Kirby game was no exception but like most of Nintendo’s games, it has fun at its core.(does Kirby kill the things he eats, or merely absorb their souls?)
Nintendo then dusted off the childish whimsy and got into Metroid 4; which makes out that something has annoyed Samus a great deal and it’s now space ass kicking time. So a treat for the more serious gamer, who perhaps feels Nintendo at times misses the serious mark (news flash…they don’t!).
Finally, we were treated to that Italian plumber’s latest adventure, Super Mario Odyssey, which without giving too much away truly showcases how that after so many adventures, escapades, boss battles and many more encounters, Nintendo can reinvent the creative scope of a game.(Fuck you looking at? I will shove a fireball up your ass!)
Friends, Creativity, Storytelling and most importantly Fun, it was all presented in abundance from Nintendo, they seem to have found their footing this year and I no longer think of Nintendo as a rank outsider after a very strong E3 performance.
In conclusion, E3 seemed to be a mixed bag of tricks but in my own humble opinion, Nintendo showed why they are still a force to be reckoned with and that gaming, while serious to some, should be about having fun. Sony showed that they have learned from the mistakes of the past and have firmly put the Gamer at the heart of their E3 show (which was fantastic). Xbox showed that they can indeed make consoles that cost you £500 and has super-duper 4K, oh and did I mentioned that they had a Porsche on stage for Forza that no-one cared about. That’s what got me the most about Microsoft this year they put everything but the gamer at the heart of their E3 experience and as of that I have no love for Microsoft.