For those that don’t know Cavern Blogs are pretty much my end of/start of the week post (depending how you look at it) that wraps up the previous weeks news highlighting a selection of the posts. There is also a final thoughts section on the bottom where I’ll briefly discuss my own thoughts about select stories from the week or my own gaming experiences.
My E3 Thoughts
EA – EA was carried by Star Wars Battlefront II this year which should come as no surprise. Thankfully the game did appear to be a huge step up from the first game in terms of multiplayer gameplay and the addition of a original story campaign. Outside of that I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot more outside of sports game updates, so I can’t say I was that disappointed with their showing. We also saw the initial reveal of Bioware’s next project Anthem, however we wouldn’t get to find out what this game was really until Microsoft’s press conference. The other two major showings for EA during this was the previously revealed new Need for Speed title and A Way Out, a new indie project from the team that brought us Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The latter title did look to have potential as a entertaining coop experience. While it was disappointing that we didn’t get to see other Star Wars projects that were previously revealed, I understand why they would want to choose to focus on one that was actually launching this year.
Microsoft – They of course had a big focus on hardware this year with the reveal of the Xbox One X and original Xbox games coming to their backwards compatibility program. The games shown during this conference included a lot of potential game of the show contenders, however the thing is that very little of what they showed were exclusives or actual new reveals. When you boil it down to brand new Microsoft exclusives revealed it really is just Forza Motorsport 7 front and center with other smaller titles like Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Project Darwin joining it. The best games shown during their conference were probably Anthem and Dragon Ball FighterZ, both of which are not exclusive to the platform. Overall I enjoyed the format of their show which rapidly showed a lot of different games, I just can’t say I was sold on the Xbox brand through it because of the lack of exclusives. In terms of the Xbox One X, I am a bit skeptical on how well it will do with sales. It’s a pretty expensive box at $499 and we are going to have to wait and see how performance compares with all the big AAA titles coming later this year and next. If someone wants to go for maximum performance I’d really just recommend building a gaming PC instead because of the fact that pretty much every future Xbox One exclusive is also on Windows 10. There still are reasons to stick with Xbox One X I suppose though, such as if you prefer that easier to set up and use living room console experience or the backwards compatibility. I’ve heard the hardware is a decent price for what’s in it too, you just have to accept the limited game library compared to a similar more expensive PC set up.
Bethesda – I left pretty underwhelmed after watching this showing because there were really no big surprises thanks to leaks of their two biggest reveals, The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I think a lot of people were crossing their fingers for a new Elder Scrolls reveal or other IP from Todd Howard and his team, but he didn’t show up at all during this. If you are a VR lover and/or user then I suppose there was some content to be excited about here with the VR version reveals for many of their major titles including DOOM, Fallout 4, and Skyrim. The fact that you have to pay full price for these separate VR versions is pretty ridiculous though. The previous two big reveals I mentioned looked neat from the trailers, however they were not demoed with any gameplay unfortunately. The Switch version of Skyrim was finally showed off during this as well, which comes complete with new motion controls and amiibo support. The idea of a portable Elder Scrolls game is pretty neat, however I’m still not sure I’m sold on it. The final point that needs to be made is their announcement of some new paid mods service, which I hope they knew by now would be met with an negative response. They haven’t been at their E3 game very long, but this is easily their worst showing yet.
PC Gaming – This was probably my least favorite of all the streams this year because it was not only extremely long, but also revealed very little. It was mostly focused on covering already revealed titles through developer interviews and more footage and trailers. The only real surprise to come from this was Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, a fully remastered version of the original. So I suppose if you were a huge fan of that game then perhaps this could be higher up on the list.
Ubisoft – They kicked their show off revealing a title which we already knew about thanks to long-running rumors and leaks. I am of course talking about Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. When I heard about this game I was quite flabbergasted that Nintendo was okay with crossing Rabbids with their most precious IP. To my surprise though the gameplay and visuals actually look quite good though. The game itself is basically Mario meets X-COM with Rabbids, which sounds awesome minus the Rabbids part. Making it all even sweeter is the fact that Grant Kirkhope is doing the music for the game, which for those that don’t know was a Rare music legend that composed many classic N64 titles such as Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Goldeneye. They somehow managed to get me to a point where I and many others actually are considering picking it up which is an impressive feat to pull off. The rest of Ubisoft’s line-up was quite varied, including updates on the already revealed The Crew 2 and South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the official reveal of the already leaked Assassin’s Creed Origins, brand new IP reveals with Skull & Bones and Starlink: Battle for Atlas, and their final big surprise with the re-announcement of Beyond Good and Evil 2. As exciting as it was to see that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was still happening, it was still in an extremely early state making it hard to put it on my radar of games to look forward to. Regardless of that they still put together an entertaining CG trailer for it. Overall I was pretty impressed with Ubisoft this year in their transition to a more standard show that did a good job keeping the focus on their games. They didn’t really bring their typical new big game reveal though like we’ve seen in the past with The Division, Watch Dogs, Wildlands, and For Honor. Sure, Beyond Good and Evil 2 was a big reveal, but like I said they didn’t really show any gameplay to give us an idea what it was really like. There is also the new IP Skull & Bones, but I didn’t really see that generate as much buzz as the other titles.
Sony – This was one of Sony’s weaker years with most of their showings being already revealed titles such as God of War, Days Gone, Spider-man, Destiny 2, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. While many of these games looked great, I wasn’t really that wowed by anything. The most exciting reveals for me walking away from it were the Shadow of the Colossus remake and Monster Hunter: World, the latter which is not an exclusive to Sony unless you live in Japan. Other than that they showed a small handful of VR games and DLC for Horizon: Zero Dawn. My guess is that the lack of new reveals is because they want to make sure they have some content to show at PlayStation Experience later this year. We’ll probably see updates on both Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake at that event.
Nintendo – While Nintendo didn’t reveal a lot of what I was hoping for, they still did surprise me with two Metroid games (one of which is Metroid Prime 4!) and other titles like the Yoshi and Kirby games. The Kirby game in particular looked great as it included two of my favorite series features, the enemy partners of Super Star and the ability mixing of Kirby 64. Yoshi I was also quite impressed with as they look to be trying something new with the platformer series by adding new perspectives and mechanics. Visually it also looked great, like the stages were actually handcrafted out of paper and cardboard. I was a bit underwhelmed with Xenoblade Chronicles II, Fire Emblem Warriors, and the Zelda DLC as they didn’t really show anything that sold me on it immediately. I was hoping Fire Emblem Warriors would deviate from the Warriors formula more like I saw with Dragon Quest Heroes 2, but it appears to be very close to what we already saw in Hyrule Warriors. Lastly we got a new look at Super Mario Odyssey and I was blown away with what I saw. I was not expecting to get that excited about this game all over again, but Nintendo managed to pull it off with a new trailer with a catchy tune showing off the new hat mechanic that let’s you take full control of enemies and objects. Even though this is not a new game reveal, I’d probably considering this my game of the show. Nintendo has always managed to find fun ways to keep the 3D platformer genre alive, and while transforming into creatures and objects may not be a new idea for gaming, it looked fresh and fun for the genre. I can’t wait to play and start experimenting with the feature and see all the creative ways Nintendo hid away secrets with it. Like I said though, I didn’t see some games revealed that I was hoping for, such as Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros. for Switch, and a localization for Monster Hunter XX on Switch. All three of these titles still have the potential to see the light of day at some point, but we probably won’t see it happening this year.
Overall this E3 was kind of in a neutral somewhat underwhelming place this year. While a lot of great games were shown, too few of them were actually new reveals. I walked away most excited and impressed with titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, Anthem, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Monster Hunter: World. E3’s like this are bound to happen from time to time though and usually means that the next year is going to step it up a notch with more new reveals compared to game updates. I’ve also yet to actually attend an E3 and I’ll probably start to consider planning a trip next year if I can make it.