It is savage and brutal exhilaration. It is E3. E3 2013 will go down in the “halls of awesome” as the greatest video game related event in the history of this industry. The coming of a “Next-Gen” is usually met with problems, controversy, and idiocy from all parties, but E3 2013 was raw and dirty, and one contender for the throne tore its opponents to shreds. (Photo Courtesy of SVNetworks)
The planets align, the Titans once again rise to wage war, the greatest heroes of mankind’s varied lore mount up, and gamers of all walks rejoice in the carnage. This is a savage and brutal exhilaration. This is E3. In my short life I have watched every E3 with elation and jubilee as the coming years’ worth of games explode into my eyes, but this year, this 2013, will go down in the halls of Awesome as the greatest video game related event in the history of this industry. The coming of a “Next-Gen” is usually met with problems, controversy, and idiocy from all parties, but E3 2013 was raw and dirty, and one contender for the throne tore it’s opponents to shreds
Before spinning a new lore of Console greatness, let’s talk about the games, the best in show, the reason we all watch. E3 2013 knocked it out of the park with a constant stream of stellar and stunning 3rd party titles. Regardless of platform of choice every gamer has something huge to be excited about. My personal favorite; Tecmo Koei, was one of the only 3rd party developers in the West Hall with the Consoles, and for good reason. TK has an incredible lineup to satiate us for the coming 2 years. Starting off with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Team Ninja hopes to further tweak and add value to the acclaimed fighting game. Rachel and Momiji finally debut in the series from their Ninja Gaiden roots. Ein and Leon finally return to DOA as well with completely new move-sets, and the rest of the cast rounds out with new combos and costumes. Team Ninja also Showed off Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, which though early in development is already looking like it will be one of the best hack and slash games in recent memory.
Capcom had little new to show except for the stateside release of the new Ace Attorney game Dual Destinies and the long over-due Lost Planet 3. However, the Dead Rising 3 announcement was interesting, though disappointing with its about face in direction. DR3 will not follow the goofy comical roots of the previous two games, but will instead go for a darker, more realistic turn. Konami absolutely WOW’d audiences with the new Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer, and a brilliant announcement of Keifer Sutherland taking over the Big Boss mantle. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 also got a gorgeous new trailer and was finally playable on the show floor. EA and Ubisoft both had plenty to brag about with fantastic press conferences which showed off exciting titles like Watch Dogs, Dragon Age 3, Plants vs Zombies 2, new footage of Assassin’s Creed 4, and the ridiculously exciting Tom Clancy’s: The Division (and that is coming from someone who dislikes Clancy games). Every end of the industry seemed to remember what gamers want at some point in this year. Maybe it was declining sales, harsh reviews, or an angry mob of Gamers constantly at their throats but they are finally giving back after a generation of lackluster releases.
The surprising thing about E3 2013 was that the ENTIRE industry represented well. Third Party developers may typically be the better devs, but we cannot forget the ones who make gaming possible. Each of the Big 3 showed what they have to offer, but only one can reign.
We all Love the little guy, they bring us nostalgia, quality that doesn’t waver, and most importantly fun. Ninty swung for the fences this year, and though they managed to score, we cant exactly call it a home run. Sure, Reggie and Iwata reminded us that they do in fact care about the WiiU and its buyers, but how they showed that wasn’t entirely promising. The reason being, we are facing 2 goliath consoles with jaw dropping tech and insane games. Nintendo is delivering it’s typical line. Which is good, really, but not enough to not be forgettable. We finally see the promises of the new Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros, but it wasn’t really enough to satiate that hunger for great wii games. We saw so little of Super Smash, even with the amazing Mega Man announcement, that Nintendo’s presence felt negligible, despite having one of the largest booths at the convention. That Said, Bayonetta was my third favorite demo on the show floor, so it wasn’t all bad.
Microsoft Probably wishes that their E3 would have been forgettable. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news recently, the XBOX ONE is one of the most anti-consumer and frightening devices ever conceived (even after Microsoft backtracked on the used games policies). The press conference was vague and un-interesting. Sure they focused on games, but the only two surprises of the show were startlingly un-impressive, Killer Instinct is a freemium game not even made by Rare, and Dead Rising 3 isn’t what fans of the series enjoy . Project Spark stood as the lone promise of hope amongst the flubs and gaffes. The biggest issue is that Microsoft spent no time clarifying the issues gamers had with the console, instead hoping that a dull line-up of “exclusives” (most are on PC as well) would help fill the gaps. To top it all off, Microsoft canceled their round table with the press, hundreds of interviews (ours included) and made some of the worst decisions in the history of Public Relations. Don Mattrick, head of XBOX thinks that if you don’t want to(or cant) connect your XBOX ONE to the internet 24-7 you should buy a 360 instead. The message from Microsoft was loud and clear, “You are just renting games and consoles from us, if you don’t like it, deal with it”. That is not even counting the not-so-subtle rape reference made to a woman, live, at the press conference. Stay Classy Xbox.
Dear Jack Tretton, I love you, have my babies. That is pretty much the sentiment of every gamer who watched, attended, or read about Sony’s press conference. Every turn, every step was like a ballet, the most beautiful ballet you have ever seen. Then guess what? One of the ballerinas grabs a metal folding chair and just destroys the black swan, it is horrific and beautiful at the same time. Sony began their show by promising PS3 owners “the best year of the console so far”, and pretty well convinced us. Beyond Two souls looks incredible, The Last of Us is officially the highest rated game of all time, and Sony’s first party studios are set to continue the marriage to quality inherent in their titles. As soon as Sony finished giving PS3 the pat on the head for a job well done, the lights dim, and there it is, the PS4. Yup it is a little black box ever so slightly larger than a PS3, and it actually looks like a game console(as opposed to an old VCR). But this is just the beginning, Sony execs walk out to not only publically give recognition to the designer who made the box (thank you for recognizing artists for the first time in industry history), but then they do something fantastic. They show games, but not just AAA multi-million dollar titles, they took a solid 20 minutes of their conference to highlight the fantastic indie titles about to hit PS3, Vita, and PS4. Sony recognizes artists for their work, and for their contribution to the gaming ecosystem. After the trailers for The Order, Santa Monica Studio’s new IP and a slew of other incredible exclusives Jack Tretton returns to the stage. In one of the most incredible and verbally violent displays I have ever seen, Sony obliterated any chance of Microsoft regaining ground. PS4 will be region free, it won’t block used games, the camera is an optional device, there will be no mandatory internet connection, YOU own this box and it’s software, oh and its retailing at 399, one hundred dollars cheaper than the XBOX ONE. Sony has a new slogan, “Greatness Awaits”, gamers agree, and a 95% share of the preorders for both consoles proves it.
E3 is a blinding spectacle, often wrought with controversy and hype engines. Normally one or two cool titles are drowned out by a thousand mediocre sequels, but 2013 brought hope and innovation back to the industry. In all my years as a hardcore gamer, I have never seen anything as beautiful. Greatness doesn’t await, it is here. (Photo Courtesy of SVNetworks)