E3 2014 in a Thousand Words
My head is full of E3. I'm at full capacity and barely able to function. Work is impossible and I just tried to eat a kettle. Just one more live stream or weaponised elephant could prove fatal, or at the very least give me a splitting headache. So, in an attempt to free up some brain space and avoid disaster, I thought I'd empty some of my E3 thoughts into a blog post.
This is that post.
I have enjoyed this year's E3 more than any other in recent memory. There hasn't been anything ground-breaking, but the last few days have been consistently entertaining and my interest increased as the week progressed. All three of the big press conferences delivered to varying degrees, and embarrassments were kept to an acceptable minimum. Nintendo's digital offering was short, punchy and fun; Sony's dragged in places but still delivered, and I came away impressed with Microsoft's all-games, no nonsense approach.
As much as I enjoy the reveals, it's only a part of the E3 experience. I like the online snark and dissecting the silly things developers say; I love sharing the event with like-minded people on Twitter (@toomanywires_), and you can't beat waking up each morning to a dozen new trailers and gameplay videos. Even when it's a bit wank, E3 still manages to entertain.
As my brain is slightly broken and I am pushed for time, I'm keeping this round-up simple. Here's what I liked and what I didn't from the first few days of E3.
Things I Liked
The 2015 Line-up - Or, more accurately, the 2016 line-up, once most of these games have been delayed a year.
No Man's Sky - For me, this was the star of the show. I'm still unclear as to how such as small studio is creating a game this ambitious, and am therefore trying to temper my enthusiasm, but No Man's Sky looks wonderful.
Just Games - Microsoft finally did the right thing, packing in a huge number of games into their press conference and successfully avoiding the waffle that sunk the middle of Sony's presentation.
Assassin's Creed Unity - I don't need another Assassin's Creed, but the French Revolution setting is irresistible and should have been used years ago. Ubisoft did an excellent job of winning me over, even as their developers suffered an extreme bout of foot in mouth.
Immediacy - The Battlefield Hardline beta, Dead Rising 3 DLC and Entwined were all available within hours of being revealed. In an industry that likes to announce games years in advance, I can definitely get behind this sense of immediacy.
The Phantom Pain - Outstanding. Kojima Productions know how to cut a great trailer.
Iwata vs. Reggie - Reggie mouthing "motherfucker" at the appearance of Mario was the highlight. Or "Mario", more likely.
Zelda Wii U - Even a Zelda ignoramus like me was impressed by that briefest of trailers. I can only imagine how excited the Nintendo faithful must be.
Bloodborne - Sign me up.
The World of Far Cry 4 - I can't wait to explore those mountains and turn an elephant into a weapon.
Tugging at my Heart Strings - And my purse strings. Abzu, Valiant Hearts and Ori and the Blind Forest were a welcome reminder that realism is overrated.
Things I Didn't Like
The 2014 Line-up - What the fuck am I supposed to play this year?
PS Vita - The biggest announcement for the Vita, Final Fantasy Type-0, ended up being a mistake. That pretty much sums up Vita's E3.
Remakes & Remasters - The Master Chief Collection, Crackdown, Ratchet & Clank, Grim Fandango, GTA V.... and the list goes on. I'm sure some of these games will be excellent, but still, I'd much rather be getting something new.
Ubisoft Press Conference Gibbersh - "Reeks of awesome"? Utter nonsense, again.
Concepts - If a game is at a conceptual stage, it shouldn't be at E3. EA, I'm mostly talking to you.
Dreary Shit - There was too much misery and destruction, greys and browns. The Division was one trailer too much for me.
Battlefield Hardline- The concept sounded so much better than the actual game. Instead of a mature Starsky and Hutch, we have cops and robbers slaughtering each other with military hardware. Really fucking boring
Dress Code - Jack Tretton and his sharp suits were sorely missed this year. One idiot actually got on stage in shorts and a leather jacket, looking like he had just broken out of a mental hospital.
Betas Becoming Cheer-worthy - It's a fucking beta. You wouldn't cheer for a demo, you cretins. Actually you probably would. Carry on, typical E3 crowd.
Amiibo - Another silly name from Nintendo, the masters of daft words.
Scalebound - I know it was just a trailer, but it was still awful. I'm already convinced that I won't be able to spend more than five minutes with that character, with his twattish headphones and silly haircut
Uncharted 4 - Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about new Uncharted. However, I'm worried that the next entry will be much darker in tone than previous instalments and could lose some of the series' light-hearted charm. The trailer was ominous, as is the subtitle "A Thief's End", and I'm concerned about the amount of influence The Last of Us may have had on Uncharted (Druckmann and Straley are at the helm). I really hope I'm overreacting.
Sunset Overdrive - A zombie, open world shooter with an obnoxious lead is hardly innovative. I like the use of colour and striking art design, but I don't quite get the groundswell of support for Insomniac's latest.
New Criterion Project - Criterion has earned the benefit of the doubt, but I'm cautious about a first-person-only racer. Still, I'm sure it will be fine, because it's Criterion.
Xenoblade Chronicles X - This was on my "Didn't Like" list following an uninspired trailer during the Nintendo presentation. However, a subsequent gameplay stream restored my faith in the only Wii U title that truly excites me. The character design is shit, but (almost) all was forgiven when I saw the world map and caught a glimpse of the combat.
Destiny - It just looked a bit ordinary, didn't it? I want Destiny to be good, but nothing about the Sony conference trailer caught my eye. Even Tyrion Lannister seemed to be disinterested.