E3 2014 has come and gone. The students have completed their assignments and turned them in for grading. The staff at 4P have given you their predictions on E3 2014, they’ve watched all the conferences and presentations and are finally ready to give out final scores for the things they’ve seen at the show.
Klippy: Microsoft’s show was one I felt needed to prove the most. Their complete implosion last year thanks to some bad choices (pricing, used game debacle, etc.) meant they had to prove a lot this time around. I missed some of the start of the show, but tuned in time to see most of what Microsoft was offering. Overall, I was not impressed. There were no big surprises or shocking announcements.
I predicted in our Roundtable that we’d see a new Halo release (which didn’t seem to surprise anyone, really), and I was not overly impressed by Sunset Overdrive, which just seems like it’s trying far too hard to be edgy and unique. I’ll save my full opinions until we see more of it, but the demo did nothing to get me interested in buying an Xbox One. Everything else I saw was just lackluster or something I could see at another conference (The Division, Assassin’s Creed: Unity) – not even a new Crackdown could increase an overall mundane performance.
Klippy’s Grade: C-
Geoff: Microsoft needed a good E3, and for the most part, they had a decent one – much better than the aforementioned implosion that was last year, at least. My biggest issue with their 2014 show was the overabundance of CG trailers and relative lack of gameplay footage and demos. They certainly had some really good titles such as the fantastic-looking Sunset Overdrive (Klippy can go jump in a lake), Scalebound could be promising despite how little we got to see of it, and the Halo Master Chief Collection is a fantastic value at just $60. The format and pacing of the conference was near-perfect as well: just a continuous stream of games, games, and more games.
That said, a lot of what they showed was also shown at other conferences, and their big “surprise” – a new Crackdown – fell flat. It wasn’t a bad show at all, but there were no real surprises or big announcements, and there was an overabundance of CG trailers.
Geoff’s Grade: C
Klippy: EA was an absolute snorefest this year. Most of our predicted games were announced/shown, but there was literally nothing going for EA. Battlefront was teased and a developer interview took the place of even a CG trailer. Mass Effect was teased in some capacity, but not enough to warrant any positive feelings for its announcement. The Sims 4 was displayed and it looks good, but I still can’t get behind how funky the newer Sims look from these last few iterations. To me, they just look a bit weird.
EA Sports time! Fighting game. Hockey hockey (Go, Kings, Go!) “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING”. Racing. Golf in a Michael Bay movie, and so on. EA finished off with Mirror’s Edge 2 content and a demo of Battlefield: Hardline, which I was originally interested in. After seeing the demo, it honestly just looks like more of the same old thing we’ve seen in the Battlefield series already. I lost interest in the game thanks to the demo they showed. Yikes.
Klippy’s Grade: F
Geoff: EA had one of the worst press conferences in E3 history. It wasn’t even the hilarious kind of bad like Sony 2006 or Konami 2010 – it was quite possibly the dullest, most uneventful hour that I’ve had to endure during any E3, and I nearly fell asleep throughout the whole hour.
The company brought none of its heavy hitters, instead spending the entire hour droning on about sports and showing The Sims 4 and the big announcement of a new horribly generic-looking Battlefield: Hardline. Oh, we saw Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, and Mass Effect…or rather, we got concept art and conceptual footage. In other words, we’ve seen just as much of those games now as we had a year ago: nothing. Criterion’s new game? Conceptual footage that look like it took about 20 minutes to make. Golf with battleships driving through land – wait what?
EA’s conference was an absolute waste of an hour, and the lack of any type of new information or footage from their big, highly-anticipated games was downright insulting.
Geoff’s Grade: F
Klippy: I went into Ubisoft with low expectations thanks to EA. Luckily, Ubisoft was significantly better than EA. Far Cry 4 is looking better than ever. Having just finished the third game, this one looks much better and I’m pretty interested in seeing how the new one turns out. Assassin’s Creed: Unity was demoed and it looks good, but it really appears to be more of the same type of thing you get in every game in that series. Valiant Hearts: The Great War was a quiet little surprise I really am looking forward to. Finally, Ubisoft demoed Rainbow Six: Siege, which is possibly one of my most anticipated games coming out thanks to the gameplay shown. I love environmental destruction and this one really looks like a winner right now. I’m hesitantly optimistic. Aisha Tyler was a competent host, but she’s so awkward. Especially after the Siege demo. Ugh. (Anecdote time: I met Aisha Tyler at FedEx in San Francisco once. She was mostly pleasant to interact with.)
Klippy’s Grade: B
Geoff: Ubisoft had a bog-standard conference, complete with Aisha Tyler hosting as she has in previous years. Thankfully she was much more poised and had fewer uncomfortable moments than she has in the past (though they were still there). Far Cry 4 looks great and actually might get me interested in that series, but Assassin’s Creed Unity just looks like more of the same, but with online co-op.
Just Dance and The Crew failed to excite me at all, and they spent way too long detailing and demoing Shape Up, a fitness game for Kinect. I do want to try Valiant Hearts, but I was thoroughly unimpressed by Rainbow Six: Siege, and it was clear that they were using that as the “big reveal” to wrap up the conference as they had done the past two years, but it fell flat with me.
Geoff’s Grade: D