by Matthew Thompson
I’m back with my second round of Press Conference impressions from this year’s E3, this time for Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo. Let’s get right to it!
Ubisoft routinely has a mess of a conference, but I happen to like a lot of their games. So regardless of how painful they can be, a Ubi presser is always worth slogging through to see the new Far Cry or Rayman game. Unfortunately they didn’t have much that enticed me this year.
One nice surprise was the new South Park game. This is one of those things that isn’t really for me, but I can respect it as a quality announcement. The first was well-received and this looked like a potentially good follow-up that swaps out the medieval theme for a superhero one. They also announced a brand new IP called For Honor. The idea of a melee-focused competitive multiplayer game is a good one, but I rarely find myself stuck into online titles these days. Still I will certainly keep an eye on this one to see what else it has to offer. Ghost Recon Wildlands really fits right in with Ubisoft’s reputation for having a so many similar games. It looked an awful lot like The Division, which was demoed earlier that day, set in Ubi’s typical open-world. The setting looked cool to me though. My interest may ebb and flow depending on how much I will have played of Ubisoft’s similar offerings when this releases.
In my E3 wishlist, I hoped for something a little different from Ubisoft. Perhaps South Park or For Honor fit that description, but I still find myself pretty unenthused by their current slate of upcoming games and they almost always have one gem that I’m excited for. Right now, there just isn’t one.
Undoubtedly Sony’s 2015 E3 Press Conference will be remembered most for announcing, in one way or another, three long sought-after titles in The Last Guardian, Shenmue 3 and the Final Fantasy VII remake. One could easily take a cynical look at all of these. I’m not sure I will believe in TLG’s release until I am playing it myself… I mean I’ve been here before. Shenmue 3 wasn’t even exactly announced, its Kickstarter was. And I can’t imagine anything besides a long, long wait in store for FFVII fans waiting to get their hands on that remake. But part of the fun of E3 is the excitement of a new title being announced and the joy it brings various fanbases. These three all happening in the same conference? Pure insanity. I don’t think I’d have believed it if I didn’t see it for myself and it was fun as hell to see the internet explode in its wake.
For me personally, only one of those excited me and that was The Last Guardian. I wasn’t sure how I’d react to seeing it again. Would I still be excited? I mean can a game ten years in the making really deliver? The answer to the latter will have to wait until it actually hits store shelves, but I did find myself pretty damn happy to see the boy and his cat/bird/griffin friend again. The demo is kind of simple and doesn’t show anything we couldn’t have gleaned from the trailer six years ago, but the relationship between the two companions really hit me especially being the animal lover I am and these kind of environmental puzzles are right up my alley. Hopefully we actually get to play this sometime in 2016!
While those announcements were the talk of the E3, it was two other games that stole the show for me. One was expected. Of course Naughty Dog was going to blow me away with another amazing Uncharted demo at E3. It is what they do. Like the PSX demo it showed the more open approach they are taking in the fourth outing and that spread into the jeep chase at the core of this latest look at the title. I was also astounded by the level of detail featured here. So many neat little touches seen throughout the demonstration… just crazy stuff.
The other came from a more surprising source. I’d read the rumors about Guerrilla Games’ new IP, but it wasn’t until I saw it for myself that I knew just how much I loved it. Our first look at Horizon Zero Dawn showed off a fascinating new world featuring primitive human tribes facing off against giant robot dinosaurs. The third-person combat looked fast and fun with the kind of beautiful graphics you’d expect from Guerrilla. I remain surprised by just how taken I was by this new title and I’ll be talking about it (and Uncharted 4) in more depth some time soon.
These were the highlights of what was an absolutely killer conference from Sony, but there was certainly more I didn’t mention here (for instance I am really intrigued by Media Molecule’s new title Dreams, but am not exactly sure I “get it” yet). It may not have filled the gap Sony has for exclusive titles this Fall, but the stir and excitement it created while showing off some damn fine-looking games was really something else.
Nintendo sort of missed the mark this year. New announcements were a mixed bag. I was looking forward to a possible Animal Crossing Wii U title, but a party game requiring Amiibos wasn’t what I had in mind at all. The same goes for the new Metroid Prime spinoff for the 3DS. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes went over better with me. Probably partly because I’m such a Zelda nut, but I also thought it looked like more fun. And you know what? The 3DS already got a proper Zelda title in A Link Between Worlds, so I think throwing an oddball entry like this multiplayer take on the series works. On the other hand, we still haven’t gotten a typical AC game on Wii U or a traditional Metroid on either current Nintendo system and we probably never will. Not that we necessarily would if these weren’t in development, but it still feels like a bit of a bummer.
Of the other announcements, I was most interested in Mario Tennis: Ultra Slam since I generally enjoy those titles. But despite it failing to impress visually, I think Star Fox Zero should be a nice addition to their Fall line-up on the Wii U. And Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, looks like a fun mash-up for fans of Mario’s role-playing adventures.
As much as I’m looking forward to Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World, I think they may have spent a bit too much time on them given how much we already knew about them before this presentation. And while it was known going in we wouldn’t be seeing the next Zelda for Wii U this week, it still hurts to not have your biggest game at the show. Nintendo still has quite a few titles on the horizon that I am excited to play, but their array of new announcements at E3 left me cold for the most part. It seems pretty clear the Wii U is winding down which made for a stark contrast to the other current gen consoles which seem to finally be kicking things into high gear at this E3.
That will do it for my impressions of this week’s E3 Pressers. I will back with some more thoughts on specific games within the next week or so. Feel free to let me know what conferences or games caught your eye this week in the comments below. Thanks for reading!