Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III
Microsoft’s barnstormer, and then everything else.
By MIKE HAZLETON & JAY TEE
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We’ve now had a chance to fully digest the outrageous combo platter that was E3 2018. As always, this years dish offered both juicy surprises and the usual bitter aftertaste, with Microsoft firing on all cylinders, and Ubisoft hitting an unexpected new low. Excessive food metaphors aside, this was a show of defied expectations, in every sense of the word. Reliable stalwarts like Sony massively underwhelmed, whereas ‘middle of the road’ Bethesda put on a fantastic show. And, of course, EA continued to be as hilariously tone deaf as ever, despite every opportunity to course correct and come out swinging. Nintendo were… also present. If E3 2017 was more transitional in nature, with largely unsurprising moments from known quantities, E3 2018 felt like the beginning of the end for this current generation, with a lot of groundwork laid for future reveals.
We’ve graded each of the major press conferences (using our five point review system), listed our personal top 5 games of the show, and thrown together a collection of GIF’s and pics that best convey the madness of the event.
An unintentionally hilarious moment of silent affection. Yay for Yarny!
This pratfall sums up the trainwreck that was the Ubisoft conference this year…
And the award for most dramatic crane shot reveal goes to… Phil Spencer!
Dev on the left: “I’m super excited to be here” … *HEAVIEST SIGH EVER*
I love the games Sony showed but in terms of E3 conferences, their's kind of sucked. The weird live music bits, the moving of the audience and awkward break after TLOU should have stolen the show...and they abused Media Molecule by including them only as an afterthought.
Something seemed off. The awkward transitions, revealing The Last of Us: Part 2 before the actual, on stage event, and the overall lack of theatricality really hurt Sony for me this year. Don’t get me wrong, Ghost of Thushima, Spiderman, and Part 2 had incredible showings, but overall this felt like a misfire.
I love Smash Bros, so I really appreciated the extended look at it, and Mario Party is great for me personally. But there could have been Virtual Console news, the revival of some old IP, or Metroid gameplay, and there was none of that, so I call this bang average.
A fairly unremarkable Direct, with no concrete details on Metroid or the Pokemon RPG. Super Mario Party was a welcome reveal, Fortnite created a frenzy with a neat shadow drop, and the news that every Smash character is returning for ‘Ultimate’ was certainly a crowd pleaser.
Every year I want an improved Microsoft showing at E3, and this year they delivered. Decent games, but most importantly stunning announcements. Almost a perfect conference, it just needed some new triple-
Far and away Microsoft’s best E3 showcase for years. A relentless, incredibly well paced performance that dropped big franchise reveals, debuted huge third party steals, and the five new studios announcement painted a very exciting picture for the future of Xbox. Well done, Phil!
The off screen demonstration of Beyond Good and Evil 2, with no context or concrete info, was an inexcusable misstep and a massive letdown.
Sports games aside, I felt only the Unravel 2 shadow drop was worth commenting on (and it was great!). Battlefield is struggling to hold people's attention, and the mention of Respawn's Star Wars game was scraping a barrel that has already been scraped.
Utter drivel, redeemed only slightly by the shadow drop of Unravel 2, and the raw creativity on display in Sea of Solitude. Three years and STILL no new Star Wars footage from Respawn, the Command and Conquer mobile game was a dreadful fakeout, Battlefield V underwhelmed, and the sports segment… eurgh.
If last year's E3 was how to do an E3 show well, Ubisoft clearly thought doing EXACTLY the same would be fine this time. It wasn't. I wanted to see more BG&E2, the Shigsy Arwing stuff was very forced, and only The Division 2 really excelled.
I was floored by how terrible Ubisoft were this year. They clearly had nothing to show. Everything felt padded, unnecessary, or a weak attempt to replicate the genuine, heartfelt reveals and moments from last years damn near perfect presentation. And they didn’t even have a one more thing!
This was a very laid back, confident conference from Bethesda. I love that they confirmed Elder Scrolls, taking the pressure off next year. Fallout sounded cool and they really treated their fans with excellent DLC announcements for past games.
A cracking showcase, with a message of strong, ongoing support for their ever growing staple of titles (love the idea of a co-
MIKE’S TOP 5 GAMES OF E3 2018:
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
This got my hype meter going. It looks like a real homage to previous Smash games, but in particular Melee, which is undoubtedly the king of the series. Having all the characters from previous games was a great surprise, announced in a really cool way. Getting a date alongside all the information puts this at the top of my list.
2. Forza Horizon 4
A bit of a wildcard one here as I don't normally have a massive interest in Forza games. I play them when they come out, but I'm never particularly hyped for them. Setting it in the UK is a great win for me, and the seasonal aspect alongside a few new vehicle classes make it a strong second in my list. They showed a lot of gameplay and it's looking good.
3. Cyberpunk 2077
I love everything I see of this. Having played lots of The Witcher 3 but struggling a bit with the lore, a CD Projekt game set in this wonderful sci-
4. Death Stranding
OK, so the footage we saw of this didn't tell us anything new, but I like that. That's what Kojima is all about. I'm doing this list based on my personal hype, and they have created hype around Death Stranding by keeping it mysterious. It looks fantastic, particularly the character models and story elements. I just hope it ends up being narrative led and doesn't fall back on shooty shooty mechanics too much.
5. Halo Infinite
Is this even a game? I'm putting it on my list as the only game to give me goosebumps that I saw at E3. The trailer was wonderfully done -
JAY TEE’S TOP 5 GAMES OF E3 2018:
1. The Last of Us: Part 2
An incredibly brutal extended look at a lot of new mechanics, with best in class animation and motion capture performance work that really took my breath away. Naughty Dog seem to be pushing the PS4 to its limits, and my hype for this game is at maximum. Give us the release date!
2. Gears 5
Dropping the ‘of War’ is an intriguing choice. Perhaps a sign of greater risk taking, and a more personal story? Visually it appears to be a strong, diverse showcase for 4K on the ‘X’. I can’t wait to see more.
3. Cyberpunk 2077
I was totally sold on the world design and early ‘Deus Ex’ vibes in the reveal trailer. All the details that have been released since the show have cemented this as one of my most anticipated new RPG’s.
4. Dying Light 2
A really pleasant surprise, considering the first game is still receiving ongoing DLC support. The branching choices, and confirmation of co-
Hurry up and come out already! I can’t wait any longer!
Although it was hardly a megaton, I’m so glad I can [soon] finally play this on my Switch. A perfect fit.