Klippy: Going into Sony, I expected a good show. They had a strong showing last year – perhaps only due to Microsoft’s utter failures, but a strong performance regardless. Destiny was shown a bit, and so was The Order: 1886. Neither really got me excited for a PS4. LittleBigPlanet 3 didn’t impress me much, as it mostly seems like the same content we’ve gotten before, albeit with some improvements. I’ve never been a fan of the series, but I’m sure it was nice for fans. No Man’s Sky looks to be a promising title and was probably my favorite part of the show, aside from the Dead Island 2 reveal. As a fan of the first game (but not Riptide), I am hesitantly excited for the true sequel.
A lot of crap about TV/Morpheus/movies that I just didn’t care for. I don’t watch E3 for television shows or movies – I watch for games. Then Sony dropped an even worse bomb: remastered the Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V. Really? These games just came out. I understand wanting to appeal to a full market of gamers by expanding to consoles that the game isn’t on, but get real, Sony. These games came out so recently and I just can’t imagine there being a PS4 or Xbox One owner that hasn’t already tried those titles (granted, I’m sure there are some consumers out there that this is their first console generation, but let’s get real: that market is small). Remastering games like Grim Fandango or The Wind Waker is, at least, reasonable. Their release dates were long ago. These announcements soured my impression of Sony’s show, along with the TV stuff.
Beyond that, Arkham Knight looks good. The Uncharted 4 reveal didn’t surprise anyone…did it?
Klippy’s Grade: C-
Geoff: Sony had a lot to live up to after their total domination of E3 last year, and for the most part they had an okay conference, though nowhere near the heights of their 2013 show.
Destiny looks good as always, but The Order: 1886 really let me down. The premise last year seemed really interesting but the demo pretty much killed any hype I had built up for the game. LittleBigPlanet 3 looks cute, but definitely more of the same. The whole “fan letters” segment seemed really forced, and Dead Island 2 doesn’t interest me at all – though a Grim Fandango remake was unexpected. I’ve never played that game though, so I really have no feelings toward it one way or another. No Man’s Sky looks phenomenal though, and I’m not one to usually like open-world sandbox style games. And Arkham Knight looks fantastic – I was a big fan of Asylum but I still need to play City and Origins.
Sony’s biggest mistake this year was deciding to be 2013-Microsoft and spending way too long talking about TV and movies. The gaming world collectively let out a sigh and promptly fell asleep for that agonizing chunk of the conference. Also, GTA 5 and The Last of Us absolutely do not need “HD” remasters and it’s clear that they’re just cash grabs and attempts to pad the lackluster next-gen library.
And meh, Uncharted 4. Most obvious end-conference “surprise” ever.
Geoff’s Grade: C
Klippy: I feel like my bias will be showing through with this one, but Nintendo’s digital event was the one I was most interested in. I have been discussing with Geoff whether to buy a Wii U or not. Initially I was going to wait until after E3 to get one, but as this article, unsurprisingly, reveals…I bought one. I just felt like the library was strong enough to entertain me and I knew Nintendo was going to bring their game to this E3 – I was overconfident with belief in them.
Nintendo seriously stepped it up from last year. The Robot Chicken style sketches were entertaining and poked fun at Nintendo’s often confusing choices. It was a lighthearted and good way to start off the show. First up was the announcement of Miis (and later Palutena) being in Smash Bros. and despite early reservations, I really feel like they will be a fun addition to the game for those that want to use them. Nintendo also revealed Amiibo figurines, which…if I’m honest, I will sink money into for the simple desire of owning figurines from my favorite Nintendo franchises. That Villager figurine from Animal Crossing is going to be my first buy.
Yoshi’s Wooly World looks like a fun, though hopefully more challenging, experience than Yoshi’s New Island. The developer interviews during Nintendo’s event actually kept me interested in watching and I felt like I got some good perspective into the design choices made during most of the Nintendo interviews. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker looks fantastic. A nice surprise for fans of the levels in 3D World. Zelda U was announced and appears to be Skyrim-inspired in a real open-world departure from the typical Zelda style. The new Pokemon games got a trailer and I can say I’ll never buy them, but I usually end up getting suckered into buying one.
Bayonetta 2 looks good. I never got the first one, but once they announced the first game would be included with the sequel, I instantly knew I’d be picking it up. Two games for the price of one is a steal. Hyrule Warriors looks good for Dynasty Warriors fans (I’m also interested) and Kirby’s Rainbow Curse has such an awesome claymation style that I know I’ll pick it up too. Xenoblade Chronicles X was probably the weakest showing from Nintendo. I’ve never played the series, but if this one looks good, I may jump in and play. Mario Maker is every Nintendo fan’s dream. I am extremely excited for it and hopefully it gets better.
Splatoon was also announced and it looks…amazing. I’m a shooter fan, but I have gotten so sick of them in recent years and this literally looks like the most fun you could have in a shooter. I’m so hyped to play this game and I am so glad Nintendo announced it (more justification for that Wii U purchase). Only disappointment was the ever-missing Metroid and Majora’s Mask 3D reveal.
Klippy’s (Biased) Grade: A
Geoff: It’s been 4 years since Nintendo had a great E3 – their 2010 show still remains among the greatest E3 conferences of all time, but since then they’ve failed to put their best foot forward. Their decision to forgo a live conference and instead present a Nintendo Direct was a huge mistake last year, especially with the terribly lackluster showing they had, so I was concerned when they announced that they would be doing the same this year.
Thankfully, they got their act together and blew everyone else out of the water even without a live conference. The Reggie-Iwata duel and Robot Chicken style sketches were hilarious, and the straight movement from one game to another eliminated the awkward transitions and flat-lining that plague other conferences. Plus the fact that they had a bunch of great games to show, and the fact that they followed up with the Treehouse Live from the show floor helped them connect with their fans in a whole new way. Sure, the developer interviews went on a little too long, and we might never get another E3 2014 Twilight Princess moment – but let’s face it, in today’s industry we probably wouldn’t ever get that anyway – but it’s clear Nintendo went back to the drawing board after last year’s terrible showing and figured out how to make things work.
Unlike Klippy, I personally couldn’t be less interested in Amiibo, so I’m glad they got that out of the way at the beginning. I think they’re a late cynical cash-grab in a market that’s already over-saturated with Skylanders and Disney Infinity figurines, and I just hope that they don’t start blocking out portions of otherwise great games in order to require you to shell out more cash for figurines.
Yoshi’s Wooly World is absolutely adorable and looks to be a huge improvement to the Yoshi games we’ve been getting recently, though it’s a bummer that we have to wait until 2015 to get our hands on it. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker shot up to near the top of my most-wanted list as soon as it was announced. Those levels were some of the most ingenious stages in Super Mario 3D World and I’m so glad that we’re getting a game to expand upon them.
Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 look just like they always have – though I’m pleased to see we’re getting the first Bayonetta as a pack-in with the sequel since I’ve never played that game. Mario Maker looks fantastic for the creative types out there, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse was a nice surprise, though I never played Canvas Curse. I was really disappointed with Xenoblade Chronicles X though, which has apparently been hit with an ugly stick and now looks like an upscaled PS2 game. I’m still chugging away at Xenoblade Chronicles, so at least now I have some more time to wrap things up with that since X has been pushed into 2015.
Splatoon kind of fell flat for me as the “big reveal” at the end though. It looks fun, but unless there’s a lot more to the game than what was shown, it doesn’t seem very deep and I think it would get repetitive quite quickly. That said, it’s great to see Nintendo creating some new IPs and branching into genres they haven’t really ventured into before.
Now where are Metroid and Majora?
Geoff’s Grade: A-
Klippy: I really enjoyed Nintendo bringing additional games and content out during their Treehouse events throughout the week. Mario Party 10 could be a return for me to a series I once loved. I loved the demos and displays of the various games they announced, like Splatoon. I felt like Nintendo really had a good concept of what E3 should be about this year and they delivered more than expected. The new games from Miyamoto look like they could be fun. I would like to see more about them before forming a legitimate opinion. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. also looks like it will be good, but I want to see more most definitely. I also loved the Pac-Man announcement for Smash. I mean…can you believe Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, and Mega Man are going to be in the same game? It’s sort of an amazing reveal in some ways. I feel like Pac-Man’s announcement should have been during the main digital event, but Nintendo was changing it up this year – bringing content for the whole week. Really pleased overall. Beyond Nintendo, I didn’t really hear about anything exciting going on on the show floor. Demoing some games, but nobody really bringing life back to the E3 experience. Next year, I guarantee Nintendo won’t be the only company doing “Treehouse” events.
Geoff: Nintendo is really the only company that kept things going even after the conference was over. The Treehouse events really allowed fans to experience the show floor even though they couldn’t be there in person, and it’s great to be able to see extra footage and demos beyond the limited showings of a press conference. The fact that they even held back some announcements such as Mario Party and even Itagaki’s Devil’s Third as a special surprise just made the post-conference content even better. I had some reservations about Nintendo abandoning the traditional conference again, to say the least, but I honestly preferred their presentation to anyone else. Like Klippy said, I think the other companies are going to take note of the reception of the Treehouse shows and present their own shows live from the floor next year – or, at least, we can hope!