Ranking the E3 Presentations: Who had the best?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is a yearly event, where major software developers unveil brand new games and build hype towards them. But even if you’re launching exciting title after exciting title, an E3 conference is about more than just the games. Sony’s The Last of Us Pt. 2 will still wow, Spider-Man will still excite, and Death Stranding will continue to confuse gamers. Ghosts of Tsushima stuck out to me the most, with its beautiful visuals, and its brutal combat set during the first Mongol invasion.

Still, Sony’s conference was a little odd. The show randomly moved location in the middle of the show. Most of the games shown were graphically violent, or story-based, somewhat limiting the conference’s appeal. There was a minimal amount of hyping up new games. Even with its four main showings, I can’t say with conviction that Sony hosted the best conference.

So, who won E3?

Microsoft.

Maybe I’m just surprised … and maybe I’m a fan of the ‘underdog’. Though Microsoft is certainly no slouch, Xbox morale was at an all-time low before their conference. The Xbox One has fallen far behind the PS4 in sales, even with the release of their powerful, 4K-capable console, the Xbox One X. We hadn’t seen a new Halo shooter in three years, or a Gears shooter in two, leaving the two biggest first-party franchises missing.

Now we have both, with Halo Infinite opening the event, and Gears of War 5 showing up midway through. Aside from that misguided Gears POP mobile game, most of the other 18 Xbox exclusives or 15 world premiere titles were incredible. It ended with a trailer for the highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, a sudden surprise for most fans.

Best of all, they’ve assured people that Xbox will grow. They’ve introduced a new in-the-works game streaming technology. They’ve taken on several game studios as Microsoft properties. They even brought news of new hardware. That sheer amount of effort, in my opinion, will pay off, and help to repair the Xbox One’s image.

What about everyone else?

Bethesda Studios was initially tied for being my favourite, unveiling hit after hit (The Elder Scrolls VI, Doom Eternal, Starfield, and so many more). Director of Bethesda Todd Howard worked well to hype up the audience and ease concerns about the online multiplayer of their biggest hit, Fallout 76. The cheering was indomitable, and everything worked … but unlike Microsoft, everyone knew it would. Microsoft held the conference that really took me by surprise.

Ubisoft’s had a strong showing, even if they aren’t one of the big three console developers (or Bethesda). The new Division game and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey look good, and I’m ecstatic at the new Beyond Good and Evil. I’m even interested to see what Ubisoft does with Starlink.

Nintendo wasn’t even a live conference – it was just a pre-recorded series of game announcements. It’s nice to see Reggie talking great games, but a live show is more energetic and exciting. Even as they showed new footage of Super Mario Party, and of course the upcoming Smash Bros Ultimate, I was not moved or shaken beyond ‘well, that’s cool.’

Who shouldn’t have even shown up?

When it comes to the worst conferences, it does come down to the games.

Square Enix’s conference was weak. Despite promises that this would be a new chapter for the developers, only two new games were shown. Trailers for Just Cause 4 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider did little to stir the audience. Moving on.

Last comes EA, unsurprisingly. Xbox had a minimum of embarrassing moments and blips, unlike EA, which had the awkward announcement of a new Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order, and its strange ‘e-sports commentary’ on Command and Conquer Rivals, an upcoming mobile game that is being ripped to shreds by gamers online.

Only Unravel 2 and Sea of Solitude wowed me, especially Solitude, with its interesting mechanics and heartfelt presentation. Battlefield V was there, and it’ll undoubtedly be a hit for many. While Anthem looks fine, but I don’t agree with Bioware’s move to online multiplayer, or the skins you can purchase with real money. Bioware only does single-player exceptionally well, and offering purchasable skins is a waste of resources. I desperately want to be proven wrong about Anthem, but EA has a poor reputation, and their conference only solidified their lack of real originality.

-Sean Daniel   sendtopervin@gmail.com

2018-06-16T21:24:27-05:00