The 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) had some great games, entertaining press conferences, and some huge news for the future of gaming. That said, there were also some games that did not look great, some press conferences that were meh, and some news that wasn't as good.
Most of this news will be based on the E3 Press Conferences, but there will be a few pieces of information from the show floor. So on that note, let's look at some of the best, worst, and weird things for E3 2018.
Best: EA - Anthem
BioWare's Anthem went into E3 with a lot to prove, and, honestly, it delivered in that it need to. Anthem looks really fun, and is more than just a Destiny clone, but rather a beautiful hybrid of Destiny, Titanfall, and Mass Effect. While it probably won't be a game of the year contender, especially given that next year appears to be stacked from a gaming standpoint, this game will be worth at least a rental for the casual gamer, and a purchase for any fans of role-playing-games or giant mech suits.
Worst: EA - Origin Access Premiere
EA changing money for access to something that should come naturally, who would have guessed. In all seriousness, EA Origin Premiere is just another way for EA to make extra money by alloying players to get early access to games for a few. EA may have gotten rid of loot boxes, but they still suffer from corporate greed.
Weird: EA - The State of Star Wars Games
After announcing the Clone Wars DLC for Battlefront II, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, and no more loot boxes, it seems like EA has figured out how to handle the Star Wars IP even better than Disney. Then again, it's EA, who has a really bad track record with finding ways to ruin things people loved as kids, see: Dead Space, Ultima, Need for Speed, Burnout, most sports games, etc. Things look promising, but some many dead studios and franchises that met their end at the hands of EA has given many fans trust issues.
Best: Microsoft/CD Projekt Red - Cyberpunk 2077
There was a lot to like about Microsoft from this E3, with a strong press conference, plenty to play on the show floor, and special demos for their exclusive games, but the highlight for their E3 was showing off the trailer for CD Projekt Red's new game Cyberpunk 2077. A game that will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, Cyberpunk 2077 looks so good and has the luxury of legitimately being something original, and that was huge for a Microsoft Press Conference that was heavy on spin-offs, sequels, and DLC.
Worst: Microsoft - What's New?
Microsoft had a lot of great games to show during the conference, and they showed some great exclusives, but nothing was really new from a game standpoint. Microsoft purchased a bunch of new studios and developers, so it's possible next year could have some great exclusive IPs, but this year was mostly sequels, spin-offs, and DLC. Sony showed that they have some... interesting exclusives coming, but they are mostly original exclusives, whereas Microsoft needs more original exclusives.
Weird: Microsoft - So, about the Xbox One X...
With the PS4 Pro still costing an arm and a leg, the Xbox One X could dominate the market by being cheaper and as good, if not better, but they barely mentioned its existence during E3. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft did great focusing on games, plus acknowledging the new developers was a good idea, their newest console felt like an afterthought. When the game trailers mention the console more than the studio executives, it's a bit of a bad sign for the console.
Best: Bethesda - Fallout 76
A Fallout Co-Op RPG, on paper this game sounds amazing, and Bethesda has a good track record of delivering on the things they put on paper. A November 2018 release date is huge for this game, with 2019 being a ridiculously stacked year for games after all of the announcements from E3. Fallout 76 looked so great in the trailers and gameplay that it could be a Game of the Year contender, so it's definitely the best thing for Bethesda's E3.
Worst: Bethesda - What"s New?
I can't call out Microsoft for this, and let Bethesda slide on the same issue. It's not as big of a deal for Bethesda, as they are a smaller developer who historically has only had a handful of IPs. Still, announcing a game that isn't a sequel or reboot would have really put their press conference over the top.
Weird: Bethesda - Andrew W.K.
I feel bad for Andrew W.K. because he went onstage for this performance and rocked out during this performance at E3. The audience, however, couldn't be bothered. I get the idea from Bethesda, but it just didn't go over well with the audience, so it came across very weird.
Best: Devolver Digital - The Story of the Press Conference
The shortest of all the E3, the press conference is very hard to summarize in just a few sentences. Just watch and enjoy.
Worst: Devolver Digital - The Importance of the Games
While the games themselves looked good, My Friend Pedro especially, the disadvantage of being so satirical during the press conference is that the games feel less important. They made so many jokes at the expense of the gaming industry that it felt more like a comedy act with game trailers than a gaming press conference.
Weird: Devolver Digital - Serious Sam 4
This is one of Devolver Digital's most popular franchise, but they didn't even mention it during their press conference. What's even weirder is that they had a playable demo available at E3. I get wanting the expo to be special for everyone who attends it, but showing SOMETHING seems to make a ton of sense in hindsight.
Best: Square Enix - Intriguing New Games
The Quiet Man (above) and Babylon's Fall both look like very interesting new IPs. One is the story of a deaf hero and the other has an insane mythology for a new game. While that doesn't mean that they will be good, they are definitely intriguing and worth keeping an eye on.
Worst: Square Enix - Their Press Conference
Square Enix's press conference just kinda happened. Most of what they showed was either in other press conferences or on the show floor. Like I mentioned with Devolver Digital, make things special for the people who attend E3, but there needs to be something for the people who watch YOUR press conference.
Weird: Square Enix - Final Fantasy VII Remake?
3 years after it was announced, the Final Fantasy VII Remake was basically a no-show at E3 this year. The only real piece of new information we got was that it will be priority one after Kingdom Hearts 3 is done. It looks like Square Enix put the cart before the horse on this one to try and help Sony sell more PS4s, but maybe they just weren't ready for the task, but its a weird situation regardless.
Best: Ubisoft - The Division 2 Booth
This video does a good job of showing and explaining exactly what the E3 booth looks like, but it's basically the Oval Office recreated for the booth. Combine that with the demo and announcement of free DLC for the first year, and you get an experience that makes The Division 2 one of the most noteworthy things that was at E3.
Worst: Ubisoft - HitRECord
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's HitRECord is working on Beyond Good & Evil 2 to help bring user-created content to the world of the game. Conceptually speaking, it sounds like a great way for users to be connected to the world, but it's also a way to get contributions to the game on the cheap. We'll see what actually happens, but the possibility of it being a ploy is worth monitoring.
Weird: Ubisoft - Just Dance 2019
Ubisoft's intro for their 2018 E3 presentation was... something. Just Dance has historically been one of the weirder parts of E3, but this year was definitely something special.
Best: PC Gaming Show - Man Eater
This game looks like so much fun. Man Eater is a shark simulator that looks relatively polished for a PC game. The fan reaction alone made this an E3 highlight.
Worst: PC Gaming Show - Mavericks: Proving Grounds
This game looks so underdeveloped during the "actual game" portion of the teaser trailer. From 1:12 - 1:32 section in the trailer makes the game look like a terrible hybrid of CS:GO and PUBG. Maybe it will be better, but 1st impressions matter, and this game's wasn't great.
Weird: PC Gaming Show - So, Are There No Triple A Titles?
The PC Gaming Show, an event that is supposed to be the pinnacle of PC gaming, showed two triple A games, and those were both sequels. Just Cause 4 and Hitman 2 looked good, but those are two of the only games people would recognize, along with The Walking Dead stuff. It's a bit weird that they really only targeted the hardcore gamers, but if it works.
Best: Sony PlayStation - The Exclusive Games
The Last of Us II, Ghost of Tsushima, Marvel's Spider-Man, and Concrete Genie all looked amazing and the ones that had demos had good demos. Ghost of Tsushima looks ridiculously beautiful, and could be a game of the year contender when it's realized just due to the fact that it looks like a work of art. There is one more console exclusive from E3, but it lies elsewhere.
Worst: Sony PlayStation - The Press Conference Talking
15 MINUTES OF TALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In all seriousness, Sony showed The Last of Us 2 in such a spectacular way, then followed it up by taking the viewers at home out of the conference while moving fans back into the main hall. The fans were hooked, then Sony cut bait.
Weird: Sony PlayStation - Death Stranding
This game is just weird. There are so many thing happening in this game that just don't make sense here. It will probably be good, especially with Hideo Kojima and some great actors on board, but the E3 showing doesn't inspire optimism.
Best: Nintendo - Super Mario Party
Has the Mario Party franchise been saved from the "everybody wins" mentality? Maybe, but more importantly, the ways to play make this game worth buying for Switch owners, and getting others to buy Switches to play together. This Mario Party, from the trailers and gameplay, looks to be the best Mario Party in years.
Worst: Nintendo - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Now wait a minute fanboys, I love the Super Smash Bros. series, but people have to admit that they showed a ton of Smash stuff. For people who aren't Super Smash Bros. fans, then they had to go through 25 minutes of Smash before the Nintendo Direct ended. The Nintendo show floor was also dominated by Smash, which isn't a bad thing, but balance is key.
Weird: Nintendo - Pokemon Let's Go Series
So is this the Pokemon Switch game that Nintendo was hyping? Is this just a generation one reboot? Is this just a Pokemon Go cash grab?
It's hard to really say, but we'll see sooner rather than latter, as the game has a November 16, 2018 release date.
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