The Best and Worst of E3 2014

The 4 Worst Things About E3 2014

2015 is Already Spoken For

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainPeople might lament all the delays we have seen, pushing games back from 2014 to 2015.  Dying Light, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Order 1886, the list goes on.  While it might be depressing to lose games to 2015, what is more depressing is how it really means 2015 is already spoken for.  We’re talking about year with Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, Bloodborne, ArkhamKnight , and Mortal Kombat.  Not to mention we’ll likely see Battlefront, and highly anticipated new IP like Dying Light, The Order, and Quantum Break.  With so many heavy hitters already stepping up to the plate in 2015, its hard to imagine any publisher wanting to add more big names to the fray.  Unfortunately, that means we’re unlikely to get any more big reveals for quite a while.

What is EA Doing?

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Primed with highly anticipated franchises, EA had an opportunity to deliver an incredible press conference.  Instead, the publisher meekly offered up a series of Dev Diary videos which promised the highly anticipated titles of Mass Effect, Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge 2, and a new IP from Criterion were all in the works, basically confirming what we already knew.  To fill time, the company trotted out their sports franchises and made the same revolutionary promises they make every year.  What should have been a time for EA to shine was instead a moment where they enthusiastically licked their wounds.

 

Girls, Guns, and the Status Quo

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There are two things you can always count on E3 for: white guys and violence.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good shooter and some Yves Guillemot as much as the next guy, but E3 continues to painfully lack in material which would appeal outside of its core , 18-35 year old, male demographic.  Having a host like Aisha Tyler to break up the monotony of white dudes or Abzu breaking up the buckets of blood is refreshing, but such respites from the status quo are hard to find.  Somewhere between Crackdown’s collapsing building and Battlefield Hardline’s collapsing crane, it all started to seem a bit redundant.  I felt the mood was encapsulated when Sony’s Adam Boyes followed up Suda 51’s Let It Die by saying, “Video games, right?”  Oh, Adam, how right you were.

Xbox Continues Search For Game Changer

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I thought Xbox had a strong press conference.  Their desire to hunker down and talk about games shows that Phil Spencer knows how to get this company back on track.  While I enjoyed much of what Xbox had to offer, the majority of it was third party.  Fable Legends is getting a Beta in 2014, but I wasn’t impressed with what I played.  Sunset Overdrive feels like the project Xbox is hoping to turn the tide, but I spent the multiplayer demo hearing the developers tell everyone they were playing the game wrong.  Scalebound didn’t grab me, Halo is more Halo, Phantom Dust is a weird game to revive.  The best game I saw at the press conference and on the show floor was Ori and the Blind Forest, a charming metroidvania platformer which is my most anticipated Xbox Game.   Xbox is looking for a game or a moment to gain ground on Sony is console sales, but I don’t see a game wich can do that.

 

The 4 Best Things About E3 2014

 

There’s Plenty to be Excited About in 2014
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July and August are drier months, but 2014 has a surprising amount of games coming in October and November.  Checking in with Dragon Age: Inquisition, Alien: Isolation, Evolve, The Evil Within, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Forza Horizon, and Destiny proved that the remaining big games for 2014 look to be well on-track.   The press conference also gave us a glimpse at new games like the aforementioned Ori and the Blind Forest and Little Big Planet 3.  Smaller games like The Witness, Aztez, Hyper Light Drifter, and Massive Chalice are also primed to make 2014 plenty awesome.

Fantasia Music Evolved is Crazy Fun

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I could have put this with my Xbox Lament or 2014 optimism, but I felt like it needed its own little section right here.  While spending some time at an Xbox party I noticed a little Fantasia Music Evolved Booth with no one giving it the time of day.  While I haven’t been all that excited about Music Evolved, I had nothing better to do and thought, “Why the hell not?”  I stepped into the booth and with bull-headish enthusiasm selected the moderately difficult Feel Good Inc.  The following experience was a rush of fun with music I have not known in a long time.  Music Evolved feels like Dance Central, but it’s more about playing with music, remixing and altering what is familiar.  This is the reason to own Kinect.  I can’t wait to get my friends together with some booze and make fools of ourselves.

Assassin’s Creed Unity is Next-Gen

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With so many franchises, keeping one toe dipped in the previous-gen waters, it has been understatedly impressive to see Ubisoft forge ahead with Assassin’s Creed Unity.  When someones presses me for details on the latest in Templars and Assassins, the first sentence has to be, “it’s more Assassins’ Creed.”  Aside from the same hardcore parkour and endless list of side-stuffs these games are known for, Assassin’s Creed Unity has many aesthetic and gameplay qualities which set it apart from its predecessors.  The mobs of people in France convey a scope of revolution Assassin’s Creed III never did, rooftops allow players to see objectives which means less time spent in your map, but its the ransacked houses and turbulent streets of France which really prove this game couldn’t run on the ye ol’ PS3 or 360. I’m unsure how well the co-op will really work, but its nice to see Unity being ambitious.

Smaller Teams Getting Bigger Presence

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In my not-so-spot-on predictions of E3 press conference, I said I thought Microsoft would give indie games a bigger due.  While I got many predictions wrong, this one came true.  There was a quick montage highlighting games like Massive Chalice, Lover’s In a Dangerous Space Time, Aztez, and Hyper Light Drifter.  There was also announcement trailers for Ori and the Blind Forest, made by the independent Moon Studios, and the latest game from Playdead Games.  Meanwhile Sony had their own announcements with Entwined and Abzu, not to mention a trailer reel for their partnership with Devolver Digital.  Indie games and mainstream games are slowly becoming synonymous.

What were your highlights and lowlights for E3 2014?  Excited about The Order 1886?  Skeptical about about The Division?  Let us know your thoughts.

 

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