With all of the media shows that took place on June 10th there was a lot to discover and hear about. I will break down my thoughts overall of how the conferences went for each company, the pluses, minuses, or even in the middle. E3 started off with a bang and a lot of goodies were unveiled. Lets take a look at the best and worst of the show.
Conference and Grades
This was a hit or miss with me. I thought overall the games were great, we got looks of The Witcher 3, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Battlefield 4, all had strong showings and I felt overall the Microsoft Conference was very good. One thing I was wondering is if they’d try to smooth things over with the fans by mentioning the online and used game portion of news on Friday that was released to less then stellar reaction, unfortunately Microsoft ignored the bad publicity it had built up. But overall I thought that Microsoft did well with their conference, mainly because they stuck to gaming and did not try to sell the all in one concept that they forced down our throats a few weeks ago. Xbox One exclusives did well for the most part with Forza and Dead Rising 3 stealing the spotlight, but Quantum Break was put on my list of disappointments, I just wasn’t feeling it yesterday unlike when the initial trailer launched at the Xbox One reveal.
I was less than impressed with EA’s press conference to be honest, I felt like they had a chance to demo one of the sports games if not two of them, but they didn’t so all I got to see was a trailer, which was just a pre-rendered piece to make it look good. Although I am sure we’ll see more within a couple of days with the next gen visuals and gameplay, it would have been nice to see it live. To me it makes it look like they didn’t have any confidence in their EA Sports games. One thing we did learn is that NBA Live is a next gen exclusive, which is probably the best thing considering how bad the current gen version has been perceived from the media and fans alike. EA did show Battlefield 4 multi-player action live and it was amazing, visually and gameplay wise, Battlefield 4 definitely was one of the top stories of the show for me, it was incredible, if you need any proof check out the multi-player playthrough on stage during EA’s Download event.
Once again Ubisoft threw the second best conference of the E3 on Monday, starting with the announcement of a new Rocksmith game, and then they started to show trailers for of games we already knew about including but not limited to, Assassins Creed IV, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Watch_Dogs, and The Crew. At the end of the press conference Ubisoft also announced a new game called Tom Clancy’s: The Division, which looks fantastic and it played just was nice if the live demo is to be believed. In the demo they showed off some cool things, the first thing that stuck out to me was the map that was displayed digitally on the screen surrounding the player as it he was wearing special glasses that displayed it, but he wasn’t and that is how it is naturally displayed (as seen above). They then went to the New York Police station and had a shootout in the parking lot which was cool because the police cars took some realistic damage to them, and it was just a fun scene overall, but hell aren’t most shootouts fun to watch in movies or video games? Once the shootout ended they went inside the police station and untied a couple police officers and were given access to weapons to help them stock up, which was good because when they exited the police station they stood around and reminisced and chatted overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge before intruders came back and another shootout broke out for another minute or so before the demo ended. Overall it was a quality show.
I give Sony the top spot not because they had the better game announcements between them and Microsoft, but for the reason of the way their conference ended. I’ll get to that in a minute, but I’d be remiss not to discuss the games first since that is primarially how they started with titles from PS Vita, and PS3 which included games such as The last of US, Grand Theft Auto V in which they unveiled a GTA V Playstation 3 bundle due out in September upon the games launch of course barring another delay. Once they got done discussing that they unveiled the PS4’s hardware which as you saw last night is pretty nice looking, it looks a lot like a PC mini tower and the PS2 all in one. I can’t think of a better description of it. Once the dust settled from that they got to PS4 games and mostly the independent developers which seemed to be one of their main focal points. but they also had Ubisoft games with their own Assassins Creed IV trailer, and they had a very cool Watch_Dogs playthrough which of course you can watch above.
And then Sony closed the show with some a fury of punches to Microsoft’s gut. Sony came out punching, by announcing any physical copies of games can be used anywhere you please, even used games which means there are no restrictions at all. There is no online requirement for Playstation 4, you can play offline anytime you want without needing to sign in to play a game. PS4 supports cross game chat. What’s that you ask? Say you’re playing Madden 25 but a friend is playing Battlefield 4, you’ll still be able to chat with one another without having to play the same title, which is something Playstation 3 can not do. Another cool feature confirmed was the play as the game downloads feature, and how it works is when downloading a game, the menus and first level are the first sections that will be downloaded and installed. While playing the first level, the second level will continue downloading in the background, then the third and fourth, and so on. One thing I am not clear on it whether that is just for downloaded games only or physical as well.
The last jab at Microsoft that Sony took was the price tag, because during the Microsoft press conference it announced that the Xbox One was going to be released in November and will cost $499, whereas Sony came in with a pretty solid price point of $399, or $100 less than the Microsoft console. However there are two minor drawbacks. The first being that if you want to game online you need to be a Playstation Plus network, so if you’re like me, you’ll need to put $50 a year towards Playstation Plus, which is still a wash compared to Xbox Live. And the second being that if you want the Playstation Camera you will need to shell out extra money to buy it. It is weird because I thought that it was needed to track the controller. But I guess not, I can’t imagine it being omitted if that was the case, it would be bad PR for Sony, PR of which that Sony is benefiting from coming into the show.
EA really stole the show with this game. I was extremely impressed with the amount of detail this game has. And it gave me an idea of what was possible in this current generation of consoles, which is another write up in itself. However the visuals as the screen shots suggest are absolutely amazing, you saw it in the Microsoft press conference first with the boat mission and the boat shootout in the rain at night. Because during that shootout there was an explosion and it looked amazing, it was true to life to what you expect in the real world.
And then during EA’s download event you saw even more jaw dropping things such as shootouts on the ground, skyscraper fights, tanks firing at buildings to try to compromise the structure and take it down, and during the demo it happened and it was a thing of beauty, the team jumped to safety using their parachutes and landing in the water before making it back to land to watch the building crumble to the ground, and leave a trail of dust. And according to this IGN article, the remains of the dust on the ground after the collapse. To me that is a small yet important thing to point out.
I am sure there will be more greatness from this game in the future.
Watch_Dogs got a surprising playthrough at the Sony press event, and it got a good showing, it had Aiden Pierce running from the police and helping a friend. And since I posted the trailer above I won’t go into much detail, but it was a great display. This playthrough definitely made my interest of Watch_Dogs reach its breaking point, to a point where I can not wait to play it. It is due out in November and it is a scheduled to be a launch title for both next gen consoles.
Tom Clancy’s: The Division
This was Ubisoft’s brand new entry, and like Watch_Dogs it immediately got on my radar. I love what Ubisoft showed, it was beautiful and it appeared to be solid gameplay wise. Definitely a watcher to keep an eye out for. It is due out in 2014.
This game was an easy choice for Best of E3. Not only is it visually stunning, but the live gameplay and trailers showed that this game looks to be the real deal. Building off of Battlefield 3, it looks like EA has a really good shot at making a modern day masterpiece that will be hard to top within the first year of the next generation consoles.