Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Best and worst of E3 2019

GameCentral readers offer their thoughts on what has been one of the most controversial E3 expos in years.

With E3 having just finished for another year, this week’s Hot Topic asked what you thought was the best game or hardware (or service) reveal and why. Which was the worst and which games are you now looking forward to more – or less – than you were before E3?

Given the unusually large number of companies not in attendance there was a lot of resentment towards some publishers, especially over the overuse of CGI trailers. The most popular reveals though still got plenty of praise, especially Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 and Watch Dogs: Legion.


Short and sweet

The best thing at E3 was definitely the Zelda: Breath Of The Wild sequel, but the whole of Nintendo’s line-up was good. I don’t know how they can go six months with nothing and then have almost too many games in the second half but better that than another year like last year.

As a great fan of Luigi’s Mansion 2 on the 3DS I’m really looking forward to the sequel to that and while Pokémon and Animal Crossing aren’t really my thing they looked good. I’m really looking forward to Astral Chain and Zelda: Link’s Awakening too. Like I said, a really good line-up.

The Panzer Dragoon remake was a nice surprise too, definitely didn’t see that coming. Best of all they had all those games and the whole Direct was still less than 30 minutes long. They get in and they got out, with no self-aggrandisement or irrelevant waffle. The other companies have a lot to learn with how Nintendo hands E3.


While the cat’s away the mice will sleep

Before E3 started there was a lot of talk about how Sony would regret not turning up as they’d be giving free reign to their rivals. Yeah, that’s not really what happened is it? Google didn’t bother turning up and Microsoft took nearly two hours to pump out nothing but pre-rendered trailers and waffle. It felt like interns when the boss is out of the office rather than market-leading companies taken advantage of the main competitor’s absence.

To me it’s obvious that Sony are going to dominate next gen just as they have this time. While everyone else scrabbles around trying to prove their relevant Sony hasn’t had to do anything to hype up the PlayStation 5. Their absence from E3 turned out to be more interesting than E3 itself and when they do start opening up next year I think the others are going to be put in their place pretty quickly.

The only exception to this is Nintendo who as usual did their own thing and did it very well. Sony and Google would do well to realise that’s the only chance against Sony.


A bad year

As an Xbox One owner I once again struggled to find much good news at E3. I know people complaining about people complaining about E3 has now become an epidemic but really, I thought it was a very poor effort with no real vision or depth to what they were saying.

It seems to me they’re all but giving up the console business and are now only interested in selling Xbox Live subscriptions and other people’s games via streaming. Not something that’s very exciting to me and I would be very surprised if I didn’t jump ship to PlayStation 5 next gen.

The only good bit of the conference was Keanu Reeves, although even then the actual Cyberpunk 2077 trailer was pretty lame. I might give Bleeding Edge a try but Gears 5 was very unconvincing. Not a good year.


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Dream vision

My favourite thing at E3 was Final Fantasy VII Remake, I really thought it was amazing. It sounds cliché but it really did look like my dream game. Like if I imagined what a modern remake could look like it was pretty much spot on to that. I was going to get it even before E3 but it looks so good I may consider getting the collector’s edition as well.

I thought Square Enix probably had the best conference overall actually, with Final Fantasy VIII remaster also being very welcome and a bunch of other Japanese games that all looked very intriguing. I’m glad Square Enix made the effort and it’s kind of rejuvenated my faith in the company a bit to be honest.

The worst thing was that new Star Wars game, which looked rubbish. I know GC aid it was very different behind closed doors but that doesn’t help E3 does it? More fool EA for not working out how to show it off properly.


Some negativity

More a case of ‘Meh3’? Huh? Yeah? I thought that one up all by myself and everything.

I shall get all my negativity out of the way first, so I thought Microsoft should have shown Fable IV. An impressive – and I do emphasise impressive for very good reason – demonstration of Fable IV would have handed Microsoft the expo.

Now that you say both Cyberpunk 2077 and The Outer Worlds won’t have a third person view for checking myself out, that has really annoyed me. I know that may change, but it does strike me as such a bone-headed move. Allow me to elucidate.

This is not Doom or Halo, where your character doesn’t matter – they’re role-playing games. Games where you are strongly encouraged to lovingly craft and customise your avatar. Not just at the start, but throughout your adventure. To limit when you see your character to either the menu screen and/or cut scenes greatly reduces your level of connection to your character. I don’t know why nobody else brings this up, as it really is stupid.

That said, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 looks great, as does Luigi’s Mansion 3. It will be nice to have something new to play on my Switch this year. Or is that next year as well?

Watch Dogs: Legion even looked interesting. Yes, words that usually don’t go together in a sentence – unless there’s a not added in at the critical juncture.

But my game of the show was Psychonauts 2. Like Shenmue III, it’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening and the level they showed off looked every bit as imaginative as what we saw in the original. Can’t wait for that.

GC: Luigi’s Mansion 3 is out this year but doesn’t have a date yet.


Online friends assemble

I know some people were a bit disappointed by the reveal but I thought Marvel’s Avengers looked pretty good. Playing an Avengers game with four of my friend sounds great and if it’s the same quality as the Spider-Man game, which it did look like, then I’m all for it.

The graphics could’ve been better but they weren’t bad and the news that the guy who did the combat for God Of War is involved is very encouraging to me. I thought Square Enix put in a good show all round really, even though I have no interest in Final Fantasy VII Remake.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Worth watching

I thought in general E3 was pretty much a success, but I suppose it’s lucky also that some of the main developers had enough of a budget to splash out on some tremendous show-stopping entertainment and some great sets with visual effects. My favourite was probably the crimson look of the Square Enix theatre and the carnival affair with the live acts performance which Ubisoft gave us.

After reading a lot of GC viewers’ comments regarding the games being displayed, I definitely have to agree why so much CGI footage! Gears 5 was just over the top. After a while I thought if I wanted to see a CGI film I’ll watch a movie and make a point of it, there’s plenty out there for all different tastes but right now I want gameplay.

Watch Dogs: Legion was a fine example, showing pretty much just gameplay only, so people know exactly what to expect and how it’s going to ultimately look when playing it – instead of CGI which has nothing to do with the finished product. I can’t argue with the Final Fantasy VII Remake, great cut scenes and gameplay all rolled into an awesome showcase of a game.

Cyberpunk 2077 was more of a cut scene than anything else and even though I had seen previous gameplay footage a while back, it’s a shame there couldn’t have been some more. But despite a lot of dates and movies of games shown to us across the conferences, I felt Nintendo showed a lot of good gameplay moments with Luigi’s Mansion 3, Super Mario Maker 2, and the new Animal Crossing game – which showed a lot of content and gave people reasons to be excited about the actual game itself. If that was not enough then a surprise bonus of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 was definitely a surprise for me and probably many others.

Overall, the E3 conference was enjoyable and had some great moments, especially Keanu Reeves making a surprise entrance himself – wow, I did not see that coming. It’ll be curious over the next few years how maybe smaller the show will get as Sony failed to show, which could lead to other large developers following suit. But it’s fair to say that E3 still draws the crowds, which will help keep the show going a little longer yet, if indefinitely. I’ll keep on tuning in and that’s for sure.


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