It’s E3 Season and it’s time to get my ill-informed opinions out onto the internet for the whole world to judge. Read more to see my winners and losers of E3 2015.
It’s that time of the year in which everyone on the Internet who has a mild interest in video games decides to up the volume of their megaphones to 14 and shout in the general direction of a listener what they think. I am of course talking about the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for short.
So lets not fuck around here, lets find out what games I have awarded the honour of being ‘Shit‘ and ‘Not As Shit‘…
ABSOLUTE VICTOR OF EVERYTHING
Let’s just get this straight right away; I have never played Shenmue. “No Zelda?! No Shenmue?! How are you a games journalist?!!” I hear you all cry. Well, I have no idea to be honest. But back to the matter at hand – even I could tell that Shenmue 3 stole the whole show. We all new Bethesda was due a new Fallout game. We all knew sooner or later that Sony would reveal The Last Guardians (finally, amirite?).
But what no one expected was Shenmue 3 to appear out of thin fucking air and raise $2 million less than 12 hours after it’s arrival on Kickstarter. With the global attention E3 will reign regardless of whether Reggie Fils-Aime decides to sit on the stage and demonstrate the correct way to burp an infant, the ripples of Shenmue 3 truly showed the power and effect that video games can have upon the world as over 35,000 avid gamers pledge their hard earned cash to see the sequel to a game long since forgotten. And I for one, cannot wait to finally start my Shenmue adventure.
ABSOLUTE LOSER OF EVERYTHING
Was it really predictable that I was going to choose Nintendo for this award, or is it in fact the feeling of most of the gaming industry right now? First of all, let me defend my choice with some unavoidable facts:
- 4 new games announced – all for the 3DS
- A new Animal Crossing… that is a Mario Party spin-off… that uses Amiibo’s
- More Amiibo’s
- Practically nothing for Wii U owners
- A couple more Amiibo’s
- Oh, and no new IP’s
Need I say more? The only thing in Nintendo’s defense is the fact that their random-ass puppet show was really entertaining and often made a winning distraction away from their otherwise flatlining Digital Event. They may be my least favourite games company, but I’d much rather watch that Nintendo Dance Party a million times over before sitting throw another crippling exchange between Aisha Taylor and Jason Derulo.
Being announced just DAYS before E3 really helped Bethesda to launch their big flag of dicks to the rest of the developers attending E3 and kindly suggest they all begin to ‘Suck it’. The massive online mayhem that followed after it’s beautifully traditional trailer sent the gaming community into overdrive, and this thirst for more information was delivered during Microsoft’s Press Conference.
Normally a cynic for trailers and cinematics, I was pleasantly surprised when Fallout 4 was given a gameplay teaser, mod compatibility on Xbox One AND a new iOS title – Fallout Shelter, a 2D builder based on your need to control a nuclear vault through the role of an Overseer. Which, by the way, I’m uncontrollably addicted to.
I just don’t get car games anymore. I used to love the thrill of Colin McRae Rally or Need For Speed: Carbon as it got my entire body moving in line with the controller to try to push my suped up fucking Renault around corners without hitting brake once. But nowadays, the focus seems to be more upon car pornography and terrain wankery. All in all, a good night for 14 year old boys who sign petitions defending Jeremy Clarkson, but what about the rest of us?
Perhaps this game could be a hit for fans of these style of video game, but I’m completely over Forza and everything it’s had to offer me in the last few years. Also, when your game is getting into the sequels of 5 and beyond, I think you need to take a step back and look what more you can really do for the dead horse you’re flogging.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
(I’m going to get really exhausted with pointing out all of the next-gen exclusives when my dusty old 360 is weeping in the corner.) Whilst this game was pegged for an E3 announcement for a while in the run-up to the event, EA nonetheless shocked the crowd by kicking off their Press Conference with their money maker. Familiar elements are seen throughout the trailer, making the audience feel like the next installment in the Mass Effect franchise is in safe and capable hands – even if the following conference was less exciting than a ketamine-induced paint drying watch-off.
Even though certain features have been left rather vague, such as the race of the protagonist, Bioware has confirmed two things for us since: you can play both male and female characters, and that the mysterious character in the trailer is not the main protagonist. Watch the trailer yourself and judge your own excitement factor!
You’re EA. You kick off your Press Conference with the arse-whoop that is Mass Effect. You follow on by announcing Star Wars titles, brand new IP’s and the sequel to the beloved Mirror’s Edge franchise. So what the fuck were they thinking by tossing a fucking Minions game into the mix?! Wrong viewership EA, you really miscalculated that one.
Who in their ever-loving mind would queue for hours to get into your Press Conference just to quiver in sexual delight at the announcement of a new mobile builder-game based off one of the most aggravatingly overused cartoon pricks that are the Minions. Think it through EA. Disclaimer: I’m only slightly angered by this.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Who would have thought a few years back that a new South Park video game wouldn’t be scoffed at, but instead received in such revelry that it was to win a pointless, made up competition on my blog. I bet Ubisoft are THRILLED. Either way, while I’m waiting for my thank you card in the post, I can genuinely tell you that this game looks the fucking don. Utilising the same RPG-style of game mechanic from The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole sees the group return to role-playing and turn-based combat but this time as superheroes.
The trailer takes absolutely none of itself seriously, as is the trademark style of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with references to Gamespot ratings and multiple gaming references we’re all but familiar too. Also, Cartman reprises his role as Coon. Oh yes. Read that sentence one more time and sense the excitement bubbling.
Ubisoft in general
Somebody always has to be the loser in these sort of blogs. Normally it’s a throwaway Minions game, or some popstar positively reeking of blood money whose sole purpose is to turn up, sell a game and wear a fictitious look of happiness. However, Ubisoft embodied the role of the loser by containing so many terrible elements that it was simply too difficult to isolate just one soul-crushing factor.
A symphony of ‘meh’ rung through the Press Conference as gamers saw way too much of Just Dance 2015 and put the goddess Aisha Taylor in so many uncomfortable situations you wanted to leap through your laggy Twitch stream and save the poor bint. Even though Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy games did wet the appetite, the rest of the showing seemed completely overcooked with too much time given to mediocre franchises and pompous celebrity interchanges.
The Last Guardian
Can I just launch this segment with a resounding ‘FUCKING FINALLY’?! Well I did, so lets move on. Sony decided to live up to the promise it made to gamers only 6 SHORT FUCKING YEARS AGO and deliver the stunning announcement trailer for The Last Guardian. And thank god it stayed exactly the same as remembered all those eons ago. Coming to PS4 in 2016, the beautiful 7 minute gameplay trailer should be enough to keep fans on board through the tough winter months as they pray silently that the game isn’t pulled from underneath them once more.
The final appearance of the game also springs new hopes into the hearts of hardcore fanboys as every single year in the run up to E3 this game has been discussed as ‘finally arriving’… begging the question, perhaps there’s still hope for Half Life 3?
Call of Duty
Even though the PS4 is now snatching all of Call of Duty’s DLC exclusively before the Xbox One, it still remains to be said that the boys down at Sony came to a Press Conference with a fucking multiplayer trailer. ONLY A MULTIPLAYER TRAILER. Topping my list as the number one reason why I loathe the COD franchise is the fact it has been reduced solely to a multiplayer title, with new releases coming out practically every year boasting a thin plot line draped over a shiny new grey multiplayer map pack.
What the hell happened to World at War and the days of Finest Hour when the game was innovative and pushed the boundaries of military FPS’s? Well I can answer that; it has fuck all to show us so just continue shooting each other to shit and pay for our pretty new DLC.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
We all know I’m not a Nintendo fan, so it was truly difficult for me to dig up a winner amongst the pile of colourful crap flown our way from rather whimsical puppets – which, by the way, I very nearly picked as the only redeemable factor from the Digital Event. However, I do love me some Animal Crossing. I always have and I always will. The game is like crack and I barely put the first title down until I had paid that bastard Nook back for his ‘generosity’.
Even though the game was technically announced back in April, this newest edition to the peaceful residents of Mega City One (the name I crown all of my town-builds with) allows you to decorate and design the homes of your fellow villagers and friends. Christ, even writing this drivel is dull… this is honestly how dull I found the rest of the show in comparison.
‘33 New Hi-Res Images of Every Single Upcoming Amiibo’ – A news title designed to evoke the nostalgic thrill of collectible hoarding, but instead begins to bubble up deep feelings of anger and resentment. This comes from a tired gamer who feels that Nintendo have forgotten the true joy of creating video games, and are now slowly turning themselves into a Toy Manufacturer under our very noses.
Amongst this shiny new pile of shit you can find bewildering Smash Bros amiibos, the breath-taking Animal Crossing amiibos and the truly wondrous Super Mario Maker amiibos. Is it working? Are you excited for these things yet? Of course you’re not, they’re utter bollocks. And don’t think I’m not looking at you Skylanders and Disney Infinity, you’re all garbage and I want to eradicate you from this planet like the pandemic you are.
SQUARE ENIX: WINNER
Just Cause 3
Now I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this, judging on the fact that the Internet was particularly silent on this title, but Just Cause 2 was fucking fantastic. I LIVED for that game. Endless hours were spent tactically shutting down government property through as much Chaos as physically possible.
So how could one NOT be excited for Round 3 and Rico Rodriguez’s triumphant return to Medici. The newest title boast a staggering 400 square km which, if anything like its predecessor, will be completely scalable and open to black market drops of expensive luxury cars on the side of a mountain. Isn’t realism a great thing?
SQUARE ENIX: LOSER
Final Fantasy everything
I can say with 100% truth that gamers are obsessed with the past and anything even marginally related to nostalgia. Final Fantasy seems to encapsulate this sentiment to such a degree that it’s treasured games are now becoming pawns in Square Enix’s bid to keep gamers distracted from their total lack of new ideas. Look at it this way, one of the highlights of their entire E3 2015 Press Conference was the announcement of a Final Fantasy VII remake… 20 years after it’s original release.
And yes, I may be attacking FF because I think it’s shite, and yes Gears of War is also getting a remake. But Gears of War is also shite and it’s something that marks a flaw in the gaming industry. I would much rather hand over £60 for a brand new gaming experience, than give a developer a single penny for a glorified face lift and additional textured polygons. Just stop.
INDIE GAME TO LOOK OUT FOR
One of my favourite aspects of E3 in recent years has been its emphasis on the growing market of indie titles and most importantly, the power of their developers. 2015 saw a collection of hugely impressive games, all of which were topped by Beyond Eyes and it’s minimalist yet sensually overwhelming take on world building and discovery.
The game itself echoes Flower’s peaceful and ‘alive’ feeling environment, as well as The Unfinished Swan’s use of sense/art to unravel and discover the game world with Bastion’s technique of platform ‘arrival’ as your characters travels through the game. But that’s not to say that this has been done before. In quite a philosophical turn, the developers have somehow figured out a way of combining stunning visual elements with interactive medium in order to show sight-able people what it’s like to be blind – as portrayed through the game’s main character, a blind girl called Rae.
The plot of the game has you looking for your lost pet cat, but clearly through experiencing just the trailer alone, Beyond Eyes will have gamers feeling so much more than heartbreak over a stray cat.
WORST USE OF MEME-AGE
Awkward Meme Man
It genuinely hurts to watch this video. This man seems to take himself 100% seriously. Aisha Taylor has either been thrust upon the man last minute as an improv joke at his expense, or this painful encounter was rehearsed, SCRIPTED even. I really can’t tell what is worse. However, what makes this soul destroyed is the near CONSTANT pushing of this poor bastard as a meme.
The desperate need to be acknowledged and made a legendary icon of internet fuckery by a multi-million dollar industry is so transparent it’s almost unbelievable. “WE SHOULD COME UP WITH A MEME REALLY QUICK”. Go home Aisha, the Internet isn’t drunk enough for this.
MOST OVER HYPED GAME
Halo 5: Guardians
Let’s take this back to 2007 when Halo 3 officially came out and played the final pieces to the epic Halo franchise. Everyone loved it. It single handedly launched the Xbox 360 console. And now here we are, 8 years later. We’re not reminiscing for our old Halo days, nor banging on the door of Bungie/343 Industries to try to deliver us more Masterchief based crack. No. We’re knee deep in 9 ADDITIONAL Halo games, all spinning off in some stupid way from the original series.
What has the world come to? I really, truly, do not understand. Either way, this game is so over-hyped and lusted-after that I can think of no other game that deserves this award other than Masterchief and his collection of grey-scale bros. Please, piss off.
BEST NEW IP
Horizon: Zero Dawn
I’m disappointed I didn’t have a longer list to choose from this year, but apparently 2015 was the year of the rehash. I typically hold my breath on calling a conference shit until the last second, basing my decision on whether or not a developer is able to bring something new and exciting to an otherwise yawning table.
Brought to you by the same team behind Killzone, Horizon launches exclusively for PS4 in 2016 placing the player in control of the archer Aloy in a world of overgrown futurescopes and unexplored wilderness. The trailer gives off a strong Enslaved: Odyssey to the West vibe based on it’s use of atmospheric, decaying civilisation just, y’know, minus the whole slave thing and thankfully avoiding that dreadful voice acting.
When Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would be backwards compatible, a lot of people including myself let out an audible cheer. You’re damn fucking right the Xbone should be backwards compatible. Like it’s not already 2015 and this sort of thing should just be acceptable. As if Nintendo hasn’t been doing that since the fucking 90’s. But as this reveal stayed with me longer, the more it became an embarrassing blunder on Microsoft’s behalf.
Much like the PS4, this really should have been a component available upon release and not 2 years later having heard the uproar from avid Microsoft fans. Whilst it’s a relief it’s finally happening and it has somewhat increased my chances of buying the Xbox One, it’s still ludicrous that in this day and age that the inclusion of dated technology is a bonus to these people.
WINNING THE CONSOLE WARS
They may not have had the most exclusive games, nor diversity on their menu of digital delights, but things they did focus on however was their presentation to a paying audience and respect for a technologically evolving industry. By focusing less on industry jargon and meaningless buzzwords, Microsoft sold themselves as honest they possibly could by selling almost all their new titles with definitive releases dates – unlike Sony.
Yes we have The Last Guardian now, BUT 2016 IS A BIG TIME WINDOW. Particularly following the shit storm of bad Xbox One PR, it’s possible to see that Bill Gates N’Co learnt a couple of things about how to handle the masses and instead of showing you games you might like to play, they slammed you into the wall and convinced you that every single pixel behind that well dressed man was worth your time and money. I believed it.
And that’s it for another year! Leave a comment with your inevitable faults in my leader board and lets fight it out!