The Electronics Gaming Expo of 2018 has come and gone and it was certainly something! It could be called remarkable considering how few train wrecks and mishaps happened. As fun as it would be to talk at length about Andrew CK or Sony’s technical mishaps but at this point I feel like those horses have been flogged past the point of undeath. I’m also going to try and say nice things about all of the presentations despite having a bias in favor of Nintendo. For reference though, I only really watched the Devolver Digital, Ubisoft, Bethesda and, Sony conferences along with Nintendo’s Direct and Treehouse presentations. Well, I didn’t watch all of Nintendo Treehouse Live, that’s over 21 hours of content but I did make it through a lot of that. Even without watching the press conferences though, it was easy enough to find videos of interesting game trailers and gameplay. Furthermore, I didn’t even know Sony did a live stream after their press conference so while I did watch their main show, I didn’t watch any additional gameplay until later on and even then, I mainly watched Resident Evil 2 footage. ‘
(And finally, here's my report card)
Now that I’ve tossed my waffle aside I’m going to start similarly to how E3 started by giving EA some time and attention! EA announced new Fifa and Madden titles because of course they did. EA also showed off a new video that seemed to have been rendered in-engine of Battlefield V, announcing their commitment to follow trends by tacking on Battle Royale to that game. A developer was cornered as he sat watching the show and forced by the lense of a camera to admit that a new Star Wars game is in development: Star Wars: The Fallen Order was not expanded upon in any way, shape or form and in a way I can almost respect EA for being so open and honest about how early in development it is. I’ll bring this point up again when I complain about Bethesda. The only other things that I recall EA announcing were a pair of indie games, one about sailing around the post-apocalypse and Unravel 2. Sea of Solitude looks like an indie-darling alright and it reminded me a whole lot of Rime which quickly became a negative association. Unravel 2 was released the same day as the conference but I never played the first one and I’m feeling somewhat overburdened in the category of poignant 2D platofrmers with cute playable characters. EA’s big thing this year was Anthem but since it looks so much like Destiny, a game which looked like dour-Borderlands, I automatically tuned out and lost what remained of my interest. I gave EA a D+ because I can see myself playing Unraveled 1 and 2 when they’re inevitably ported over to Switch (the main characters are the same colors as the joycon for crying out loud) and Sea of Solitude is probably going to be a lot more engaging for me than Rime was.
Microsoft were next in line and since I don’t own an Xbone, (more importantly, since I still unironically refer to them as XBones), I didn’t think I would be too interested in what Microsoft had to show. What I failed to remember though is how the Xbone doesn’t have any exclusive games at all. Sure, Halo Infinite, Gears of War 5 and, Crackdown 3 are only going to be available the Xbone and Windows but other games announced during Microsoft’s conference are going to be available on platforms that I actually own! Devil May Cry 5 didn’t get a gameplay video but it’s in development and the in-engine video made it look like DmC5 is going to be a fun game to play, much unlike DmC4. Sekiro: Shadow’s Die Twice was another game that absolutely jumped out at me because I never played Nioh and ‘Dark Souls but it’s feudal Japan and we’re fighting Yokai and Oni’ is a concept that I’m absolutely down for. I’ve never played Tales of Vesperia either but that trailer for the Definitive edition looked fantastic to me and it’s launching on the Switch which automatically makes it worth something to me! I haven’t played J Star Victory Vs either but JUMP Force was announced during this show and I’m incredibly excited for another arena style JUMP fighting game. These really are just Smash Bros but with Anime (specificially, Shonen JUMP). I want to put myself out there by also showering praise on Gears Pop! There was no gameplay to be seen but I like the Funko Pops and seeing them used in a video game tickles me in a similar way that seeing Lego games tickle me. Before I do the obvious and say something incredibly nice about Cyberpunk 2077, I want to say something nice about Session as well because we didn’t get any actual gameplay yet so there’s a chance that Session will be fun and not a pain in the ass like the original Skate. Cyberpunk 2077 is going to save all of our souls and while it looks like a massively open RPG, if you name your character anything other than ‘Decker’ or ‘Beckett’ then you’re playing the game wrong.
(These guys are assist trophies)
Bethesda finally told us what Fallout 76 was and what it is, is an always online game that massively expands the town building aspect of Fallout 4. There are nuclear arsenals around the map (which is four-times larger than the Fallout 4 map) so griefing other players with nuclear Hellfire is going to be hilarious to watch at least once. This isn’t a game that I’m ever going to play though because as I grew up and as I was developing as a character in this, the game of life, I somehow obtained the trait of always having bad internet connections. Because of that trait, I will never play Fallout 76 and since I didn’t like Fallout 4 very much anyway and 76 is just that but bigger and with online multiplayer, that comes together to create a game that is absolutely not for me. On the flipside of that disappointment, we have Rage 2 which is a single-player, open world shooter that features jibbing and humor and while the first one couldn’t hold my attention all the way through I feel like I should buy this game on principle. I’m not buying the Prey DLC because I don’t own Prey, Fallout Shelter might play better on Switch than any other platform but it’s not a game and I feel insulted that it’s the only Fallout thing the Nintendo console currently has that isn’t pinball. If I owned a smart home device I would probably download that version of Skyrim but I’d rather play Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Zork. Doom Eternal was announced and I’m glad the sequel to the incredible Doom 2016 wasn’t given a ‘Re’ subtitle or the number 2. There wasn’t any gameplay but I’m still glad this is in development. The only other announcement with gameplay that I cared about was Elder Scrolls: Blades. It’s currently being built as a mobile game but it sounds like Bethesda plans on bringing it to ‘all consoles’ which I’m going to interpret as ‘Nintendo Switch’. I liked Skyrim so it’s great seeing some new Elder Scrolls, even if it’s being built for smart phones first. What I don’t care to see are title screens: Starfield has been a poorly kept secret for what, 3 years now? Then there’s The Elder Scrolls VI which was also announced. These last two are unlikely to be seen any time soon and I really wouldn’t be surprised if they became killer apps on the Playstation 5 and Xbox...I dunno...Omega? Extremis. Bethesda got a D from me because I’m bitter.
Devolver Digital put on a really good show and like Bethesda, you can buy what seemed to have been a joke product they announced, the Lootbox Coin. You can’t find them on the Devolver Digital webstore anymore but I’m sure you can either spend a couple hundred bucks for one on eBay or you can have a rich friend 3D Print you one if you care about getting one and keeping with the spirit of their creation. As for games, Devolver have teamed up with Fromsoft to bring out a remastered version of Wolf Metal Chaos out in the west. As much as I love original Xbox exclusives, what I’m really excited for is My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas which reminds me a lot of a side-scrolling Manhunt Miami when it comes to creative kills, creative gunplay and, overall fun. I feel like this could easily be made into a Deadpool game considering how confidently the player characters skateboards and twirls as he shoots limbs off of his enemies. Devolver Digital’s show was a really good one, it even referenced Robocop and promises a continuing plot for next year which is why I rated it 50 Lootbox Coins.
(It's definitely currency)
Square Enix apparently just showed off trailers that were already shown during other conferences. Their Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer was shown during the Microsoft show for example and their second Octopath Traveller demo didn’t launch until a couple of days after. I still haven’t played that demo but I loved the first one. I guess the only big thing Square Enix announced was a crossover between Monster Hunter and Final Fantasy XIV: certain assets and monster(s?) from Monster Hunter will feature in a hunt (or quests?) in Final Fantasy MMO-II. Maybe during the Tokyo Game Show later this year, Square Enix will have something worthwhile to show off, like a Switch port of Final Fantasy XV or...well, anything new really. I’ve given them an E as a grade since that’s what I would get when I didn’t do any work. The nicest thing I can say when it comes to praise is how glad I am that Square Enix didn’t waste our time with a video rendered using an engine they’ll never actually use for a game.
Oh Ubisoft, you could have been an A+ this year but you’re Ubisoft. There are certain companies that you have low or no expectations from and Ubisoft is absolutely one of those companies. I think it’s because of those low expectations though that I came away from their showcase feeling very positive. Call me ignorant but 2 of Ubisoft’s games looked like No Man’s Sky but good and one of them was the pre-alpha gameplay we saw of Beyond Good and Evil 2. I like how the developers are going to populate the world with a bunch of art from random artists but the truth is that I’m a sucker for games that let me take a ship into and out of a planet’s atmosphere whenever I want to. Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still very early in development apparently but Starlink is launching in October and this is the other game that looks like No Man’s Sky but good. Each of the planets are fully circumnavigatable, they’re hand crafted instead of being procedurally generated, inactivity results in a stronger enemy force but the best thing about Starlink is the fact that if you buy it on Switch, you can rename it Star Fox 3: Battle for Atlas and not be wrong. I can’t wait to get my hands on this, even though it’s a toys-to-life game but apparently it’s a TtL game that only requires you to use those toys once then saves them to your game’s save data...although the Arwing that you get with it is really big and really cool. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey doesn’t look much like an Assassin’s Creed game and is missing certain key icons like white hoods or jumping off of high things. In fact, it looks like there’s a variation on Mordor’s nemesis system but Odyssey still looks like it’s going to be a really fun game. Of course this is an Ubisoft game that has a lot of money behind it so odds are just as good that this is 2018’s Watch_Dogs. I’m not a huge Trials guy but it looks to me like Trials Rising is the first Trials that has you racing a bunch of other people and that really appealed to me. Good on ya Trials theme! Skull and Bone looked great at first but then the asterisks made themselves known: You can’t play offline, you can’t leave your ship unless you’re boarding someone else’s ship...it’s very disappointing and just makes me want to go back and try playing Assassins Creed IV. Oh well, Ubisoft still earned a B out of me for making the best looking Star Fox game since Assault.
(I'm absolutely buying this. This is my Star Fox 3)
I don’t give a crap about the PC Game Show and I also don’t give a crap about The Last of Us part 2. The gameplay video Sony showed off was really lengthy which could have been great but did I miss it or were there no mushroom zombies this time? The gameplay trailer for Ghosts of Tsushima was really pretty and I hope the actual game looks that good once it launches. Finding out that the gameplay trailer was showing off a side-quest illustrates nicely just how large the game could potentially be. Control looked great but I wish Sony showed off a lengthier gameplay video, especially after I had to sit through what felt like 15 unwanted minutes of Last of Us Again. I didn’t care about Death Stranding because I’m a statistical anomaly but seeing a Spider-Man gameplay section in a tight space made it really look like an Arkham game. Of course the big thing for me and most other fans was the reveal of the Resident Evil 2 Remake. As excited as I am for the remake of Resident Evil 2, most of my nostalgic baggage is filled with Nemesis and Jill Valentine so when they remake Resident Evil 3, that’s when I’ll finally lose what remains of my shit. I do like how Sony is discounting a lot of their current games and a surprise freebie for PS+ subscribers (like me) were given a free download code for Black Ops 3 which is nice but not enough for me to raise Sony’s overall E3 grade from a C. Sony put in a good show but the really good stuff, like footage of Resident Evil 2’s gameplay. I would have been much more interested in that than the footage we got of The Last of Us 2 and I’m saying that as someone who genuinely didn’t like the first game.
E3 2018 was absolutely not going to be better for Nintendo than E3 2017 had been and prior to the launch of their direct video they did state how most of their presentation would be focused on Super Smash Bros for Switch (now called Super Smash Bros Ultimate). Despite this I still graded Nintendo’s Direct as an A- with a solid B Treeshouse presentation. Other than Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Nintendo’s Direct big new reveals were Daemon X Machina (a mecha combat game with character customization that looks like something Platinum would have made) and Super Mario Party (think Mario Party 1 through 3, not 8 through 10). Nintendo announced that Hollow Knight is available for the Nintendo Switch immediately and I’ve already put in several hours which I’ve enjoyed despite a high number of well deserved deaths. The main thing, again, was a huge amount of new information on Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Every character who has been playable in the past is going to be available in Ultimate and it sounds like you can choose to either play with everyone from the start or start the game with the original 8 and unlock everybody else from there. Since every past and DLC fighter is going to be on the Smash Ultimate cart, Sakurai has stated that fans should expect fewer new character reveals in Smash Ultimate which seems like a fair trade. This entry already has the largest roster out of any other game in the series and that’s before the reveals of Ridley from the Metroid franchise and Daisy. After the Direct there were three days and roughly 21 hours of Treehouse footage where the only new thing shown off were 2 Arcade Archive titles, one of which being an unreleased Arcade game called Sky Skipper which is neat I guess. It was interesting to see Starlink in action during Treehouse and it really reinforces what I said earlier about this game essentially just being Starfox 3 or Starfox Assault 2. There are a lot of gameplay videos on Nintendo’s youtube channel from Treehouse and if you find yourself both bored and free for a couple of days I’d recommend watching those if you want to see more gameplay videos of Octopath Traveller, Daemon X Machina, the Xenoblade 2 DLC, Mario Tennis Aces, Smash Ultimate and, the paid Splatoon 2 DLC. I wound up giving the Treehouse presentations a B overall and it didn’t really do a lot to raise up my overall Nintendo grade but that’s fine since Nintendo still got an A- out of me.
With E3 2018 now firmly in the past we can focus on toiling in the present so we have enough money to purchase the shiny new games we were shown in the not-too-distant future. If I were to quickly rank my favorite games from this years show, that list would look something like this:
(Ridley Murders Mario)
So if you were just waiting for my top 10 then you can still leave here disappointed because like all of my other lists of ten, this is a very loose list that can change at the drop of a hat. This feels right to me though and technically Sekiro and Ghost are tied in their position. Hollow Knight on the Switch isn’t on the list because I’ve already bought it so I’m passed the point of being hyped for it: I’m currently hyped to stop dying and learn double-jump. I’m also very sciced for the next Nintendo Direct and what’s going to be a humorously packed January 25th through 29th. What was your top list of E3 2018 and more importantly, why is my list wrong?