e3headerRoundup

Today has been a pret­ty hec­tic day on mul­ti­ple fronts, and even as I tried to sink my teeth fur­ther into the rather deep com­bat me­chan­ics of Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, I couldn’t help but di­rect my at­ten­tion to Twitch, as the stream­ing for the pre­mier gam­ing ex­trav­a­gan­za known as E3 got un­der way. Now, keep in mind that I haven’t had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to watch the en­tire­ty of the day’s cov­er­age. So, this will ba­si­cal­ly be my im­pres­sions on what I’ve seen.

Day Zero – Microsoft and Sony

 

Microsoft: The first of the ma­jor press con­fer­ences I saw to­day was the one held by Microsoft and what I re­al­ized was that this was the herald­ing of a major‐league course cor­rec­tion in the gam­ing in­dus­try. How so? Simple. Even amidst the ti­tles that Microsoft had tout­ed for their cur­rent ac­tive con­sole, AAA sure­fire block­busters like Halo 5: Guardians, Forza 6 and the in­creas­ing­ly hype‐tastic Fallout 4, there was one big change to the hard­ware ar­chi­tec­ture that even had this somewhat‐jaded gamer ap­plaud­ing: Backward com­pat­i­bil­i­ty.

That’s right.

Coming soon is the very real even­tu­al­i­ty of Xbox One con­soles be­ing able to play ti­tles from the Xbox 360 cat­a­log of games. Plenty of ap­plause to be had, how­ev­er as far as I’m con­cerned, my re­sponse could be summed up sim­ply: “It’s about damn time.” Add to this the an­nounce­ment of the “30 Games for $30” Rare Replay col­lec­tion, bring­ing back clas­sic Rare games from the days of the Nintendo 64 such as Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie and CONKER’S BAD FUR DAY, and that makes for a mod­er­ate­ly good start. Especially com­pared to the jolly‐stomping MS suf­fered this time last year.

Sony: After wit­ness­ing Microsoft get­ting a prover­bial cook­ie for do­ing what the gamers have asked for since the launch of their newest gam­ing con­sole, I asked my­self the fol­low­ing: “Will Sony fol­low suit and do the same for the PS4? Will they ex­pand the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of their con­sole and, as a re­sult, their rather im­pres­sive li­brary?” Sadly, all signs cur­rent­ly point to “No.” However, Sony did come out the gate and an­nounce that the sys­tem will fi­nal­ly re­ceive a me­dia play­er app, there­by grant­i­ng the new hard­ware some of the same func­tion­al­i­ty as their pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion coun­ter­part. Of course, the PS3 is ca­pa­ble of act­ing as a me­dia play­er and al­lows for “cus­tom sound­tracks” RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX.

Another prover­bial cook­ie for get­ting right what should’ve been there from Day 1. On the plus side, for those that own a PS4 and haven’t done so yet, the Media Player app is avail­able right this very mo­ment.

If you want to know where Sony re­al­ly shines? It’s the an­nounced games. There was ab­solute­ly ZERO time spent talk­ing about sta­tis­tics and stocks. It was all about the games, and I couldn’t be hap­pi­er! Rise of the Tomb Raider was suit­ably in­tense as a follow‐up to Lara Croft’s most re­cent adventure/origin sto­ry. The newest footage from Uncharted 4 looked fast‐paced and fun. Hitman seems to be re­turn­ing to form and let’s not for­get the char­ac­ter re­veals for Birdie and Cammy in Street Fighter 5. While the con­tin­u­ing fran­chis­es look good, it was the new IP from Guerilla Games, Horizon: Zero Dawn, that re­al­ly cap­tured my at­ten­tion and my imag­i­na­tion.

At least, that was un­til an­oth­er new Final Fantasy game was an­nounced.

With the chibi‐styled char­ac­ters and the de­cid­ed­ly sac­cha­rine pre­sen­ta­tion of World of Final Fantasy, I was ready to spend the rest of E3 pissed off and jad­ed against Sony and Square‐Enix. When the fol­low­ing trail­er graced au­di­ences world­wide with sweep­ing views of East Edge and the fresh‐yet‐familiar Midgar, I wait­ed with bait­ed breath. They were toy­ing with my emo­tions. I couldn’t han­dle the sus­pense and I shrieked like a gid­dy school­girl go­ing to prom at the very mo­ment that I saw the cam­era pan up­ward along the edge of the fa­bled Buster Sword. When those 7 fa­mil­iar notes played, I about lost my mind. Admittedly, I was al­ready rid­ing pret­ty high from the long‐overdue re­veal of The Last Guardian and af­ter FF7‐R was an­nounced, the hig con­tin­ued when Yu Suzuki took to the stage to an­nounce the his­toric Kickstarter for Shenmue 3.

With all that said, I got­ta ad­mit that it’s a great time to be a gamer. I will end by say­ing this to Sony and Ubisoft, though…

Stop it. Give Assassin’s Creed a break! Unity has a litany of marks against it and, by‐and‐large, gamers need as much as break from AC as they do from Street Fighter. Give it a rest.

Day One – Nintendo and Square Enix

I’ve got plen­ty to talk about so, I’ll try to keep this as con­cise as pos­si­ble. Today’s big E3 pressers were, as one would guess those held by Nintendo and Square Enix. Keeping with their cur­rent track record of cut­ting out the mid­dle man and go­ing right to the con­sumers, Nintendo’s press con­fer­ence was a dig­i­tal pre­sen­ta­tion and chock full of the fun and in­di­vid­u­al­i­ty that the House of Mario has come to be known for. Meanwhile, Square Enix’s live press event was…shaky, al­though tol­er­a­ble. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Nintendo Digital: As I men­tioned above, the Nintendo Digital E3 press con­fer­ence was an en­ter­tain­ing trip down mem­o­ry lane, cel­e­brat­ing 30 years of the jovial plumber and his bro help­ing de­fend the Mushroom Kingdom well as a case study in bring­ing fun and con­nec­tiv­i­ty to the are­na of video gam­ing. While an­nounc­ing the US re­leas­es of long await­ed 3rd par­ty ex­clu­sives like Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fire Emblem: Fates and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, Nintendo re­al­ly played to their strengths and even added some sig­na­ture Big N hu­mor to the mix. I’m sure that by now, you’ve seen the nu­mer­ous gifs of the Reggie/Iwata/Sakurai pup­pet bits. Watching them even now is send­ing me into mirth­ful gig­gle fits.

The one big bone of con­tention the Nintendo fan­base seems to have is the an­nounce­ment of Metroid Prime: Federation Force. The fans have clam­ored for a new en­try into the leg­endary fran­chise head­ed by the soul­mate of Ellen Ripley (you know her as Samus Aran) and in­stead of the wild­ly imag­i­na­tive and at­mos­pher­ic exploration/action/puzzle‐solving that the se­ries is known for…what fans got was, es­sen­tial­ly Gears of Metroid and Metroid “Blast Ball” (not un­like the Anarchy Reigns mul­ti­play­er mini‐game, Death Ball). There’s al­ready a pe­ti­tion for a can­cel­la­tion of Federation Force mak­ing its rounds across the in­ter­net. So, yeah. Oops.

Aside from that, Nintendo’s show­ing was strong, this year, large­ly car­ried on the wings of the Platinum Games co‐developed Star Fox Zero. With the first‐party rear­guard be­ing bol­stered by imag­i­na­tive ti­tles like Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, this com­ing year looks pret­ty sol­id. So, Happy 30th Anniversary, Super Mario. Thanks for 3 decades of fun, in­no­va­tion and in­deli­ble mem­o­ries.

Square Enix: Considering yesterday’s rev­e­la­tion of the long‐awaited and fer­vent­ly re­quest­ed Final Fantasy 7 Remake, all Square Enix had to do in or­der to re­store an even greater amount of good­will among gamers would be to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion. Instead, it was an­nounced that FF7-R…was be­ing of­fi­cial­ly an­nounced at E3 and more de­tails would be made avail­able at the end of the year. Way to give the fans a sharp case of blue‐balls. However, even through some rather bum­bling pre­sen­ta­tion is­sues, the line‐up of games pre­sent­ed at this press­er was rel­a­tive­ly sol­id.

Starting with the ex­plo­sive, high oc­tane car­nage of Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 3, the first of SE’s Western‐based fran­chis­es to rock the show floor did just that. Fans of JC2 can re­joice in the ex­pand­ed aer­i­al and bal­lis­tic ca­pa­bil­i­ties that our hero brings to bear in this lat­est in­stall­ment. Tighter para­chute con­trols, a wing­suit, more weapons and vehicles…December is go­ing to be a good month if the only ti­tle you buy is JC3. What fol­lowed af­ter that, though, was wor­thy of memes and ad­mi­ra­tion for quite some time to come.

Taro Yoko steps on to the stage, wear­ing the “Moon Man” head from the sleep­er hit NieR. Then, he pro­ceeds to an­nounce the de­vel­op­ment of what’s ten­ta­tive­ly called “NieR: New Project.” Adding fur­ther to the hype is that ac­tion gam­ing pow­er­house Platinum Games is also aid­ing in the de­vel­op­ment of this ti­tle, as they did with StarFox Zero and the up­com­ing Transformers: Devastation. With so many projects, one would think that Platinum is stretch­ing them­selves thin. One could also think that they’ve got­ten them­selves slat­ed to work on mul­ti­ple, high‐profile ti­tles back‐to‐back. So, keep your fin­gers crossed and keep a care­ful eye out for more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this one, folks!

More footage from Rise of the Tomb Raider fol­lowed suit, show­ing off the graph­i­cal ad­vance­ments that’ve been made even be­yond the pre­vi­ous en­try. Hitman also made a pret­ty big im­pres­sion with its “World of Assassination” theme. Active, evolv­ing on­line mul­ti­play­er with nu­mer­ous con­tracts sounds like an am­bi­tious step for the fran­chise.

The new footage shown off for Kingdom Hearts 3 looks jam packed with ac­tion and is def­i­nite­ly ev­i­dence that the fans will, in large dos­es, fi­nal­ly be get­ting what they want from this lat­est en­try into the Disney/SE mega‐crossover se­ries. As good as that looks, though, the JRPG I’m per­son­al­ly pumped for the most from SE is ar­guably Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. Or, sim­ply put, Star Ocean 5. The fo­cus on seam­less tran­si­tion be­tween events, ex­plo­ration, and com­bat was beau­ti­ful­ly con­veyed in the ear­ly build game­play footage shown.

Last, but by no means least, was the ex­tend­ed trail­er and dis­cus­sion of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. If ever there was a fran­chise that brought heady sub­jects into gam­ing, then Deus Ex is that fran­chise. Human Revolution was ground­break­ing in its han­dling of the con­cepts of trans‐humanism and fur­ther­ing that dis­cus­sion seems to be the dri­ving goal of Mankind Divided. Well, that and re­fin­ing the tech­ni­cal prowess brought to bear by it’s pre­de­ces­sor.

My biggest gripe, how­ev­er, with the Square Enix press con­fer­ence is sim­ple. TOO MUCH TALKING! There was very lit­tle room for the games be­ing show­cased to re­al­ly bring much ex­cite­ment be­cause the devs and suits were over­ly long‐in‐the‐tooth. Show, don’t tell! Keep the lip flap­ping con­cise and let the hard work speak for it­self.

Speaking of which, that, right there, is go­ing to be it for me. I’ve gone on long enough and now I plan to go back to do­ing some se­ri­ous gam­ing, my­self.

Stay tuned for more E3 Round‐Up cov­er­age and analy­sis from Ace Nelson and the rest of the gang here at SuperNerdLand!

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Ace Nelson
Gamer, mar­tial artist, SuperNerdLand con­trib­u­tor, Gatorade‐fueled‐Parkour‐loving ac­tion junkie, pro­fes­sion­al smart‐ass and oc­ca­sion­al id­iot. How ya doin’?
Ace Nelson

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