E3 2015 Day 1 Impressions: Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, & Sony

The big day with a ton of press conferences and announcements has come and gone! Here are my thoughts through bulletpoints, similar to yesterday’s impressions blog. Also a quick note, while Tuesday is the first official day of E3, I have always considered the big press conference day the first day of E3, so my numbering is, officially, off. Sorry for any confusion. Now let’s get into it!

Microsoft

  • Halo 5 leading the show wasn’t surpsising at all. The gameplay looks just as solid as ever, but the story looks more complex than any other we’ve experienced in the series.
  • Recore has me pumped, even though we saw no gameplay. The pedigree that Inafune and the makers of Metroid Prime bring to the table is exciting and something I’m going to keep my eye on. One of the more exciting announcements of the show for me.
  • The backwards compatibility and Elite controller announcements are solid and interesting because they improve the Xbox ecosystem. Microsoft knows how to get fans hyped for their ecosystem without affecting the pace of the conference and I commend them for it.
  • Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One: short and sweet was the way to go. Another demo would have dragged down the flow of the presentation.
  • EA Access was weird and I don’t understand what the service is providing.
  • Forza 6 still looks smooth, like the rest of the series. Nothing revolutionary, but I’m sure the game will be another tight racer. At this point, I’m thinking the conference seems to be a lot of the same in terms of sequels and not a lot of new games, which isn’t a bad thing. That was also the nicest Ford I’ve ever seen, if only for 30 seconds.
  • We didn’t see a lot of Dark Souls 3, but it’s neat that we now know it is coming.
  • The Division getting an exclusive beta in December means the game is likely not coming out in 2015, which is a bummer, but I’m looking forward to The Division and I want a good game first and foremost. I had a hard time figuring out what was being said about Rainbow Six: Siege, but the game is due out in October, although my bet is this game slips into November at least.
  • Gigantic reminded me a lot of Blizzard’s Overwatch, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Have to love free-to-play console games and a beta coming later.
  • Microsoft has a strong indie lineup. The games that were showcased outside of the sizzle reel all looked great and quirky. Cuphead was my favorite, but I have a lot of faith in Tacoma as well.
  • The Xbox Game Preview looks like a way for developers to release unfinished games, but I’m just going to stay away and call it a day.
  • Tomb Raider looks like a tense and adventure-filled game. This game looks like Microsoft’s answer to Uncharted and could be a strong contender.
  • Rare Replay may just be the best value in gaming. $1 a game is insane and I’m really looking forward to being able to play all those classics for the first time.
  • Sea of Thieves makes me happy because it means Rare is no longer working on Kinect games. The game itself looks good aesthetically but I don’t know if I’ll care for it if it ends up being a MMO.
  • Xbox partnering with Occulus really kick starts the VR war.
  • Hololens looks really neat, even if you’re going to look silly using it. I’m having a hard time picturing uses for the Hololens outside of Minecraft, but still neat. Also, if yelling “LIGHTNING BOLT STRIKE” and destroying parts of the world doesn’t give you a God complex, I don’t know what will.
  • Gears of War Ultimate Edition will probably be great but I don’t understand why they would remake only the first game, especially since they announced Gears 4. Now, if someone wants to get into the series, they can only play the first game before the fourth game comes out, leaving a two game hole in the players knowledge of the universe. An odd move for sure.
  • Gears 4 looked dark, dreary, and honestly, boring.
  • I, at one point, had a Xbox One, but traded it for a PS4. Microsoft made me regret that decision with their conference and I may have to rectify my choice by purchasing one when the time is right for me, financially.
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EA

  • I thought Mass Effect: Andromeda was a bold lead for EA. We could have waited to see that game, since it won’t be out unitl Holiday 2016, but it brought a smile to my face all the same.
  • Not big on what I think is a reboot of Need for Speed, but the graphics of that game look really good. The human NPCs looked creepily real, but I’m taking that with a grain of salt, my suspicions are the final product won’t look that good when the game ships.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion had a cool cinematic that hooked me on the story, but I’ll likely never experience it first hand.
  • Unravel may be the cutest game of the show and I would have never expected EA, of all companies, to publish it. I like the trend of big publishers putting out/funding artsy games. Unravel looks like something really special and I’m looking forward to it.
  • Plants v. Zombie: Garden Warfare 2 looks like EA trying to bring a MOBA to the mainstream, but I am short on both interest in this game and love for the series, so I’m passing.
  • Sports games=snack break
  • Minions Paradise looks like a liscened Farmville clone and it makes me want to hit myself in the head with a rock.
  • Pele is an interesting man, but a video game press conference isn’t the best place for an interview with him, even if it is for FIFA.
  • Mirrors Edge: Catalyst looks like a beautifuly smooth prequel. Releasing in Febuary is incredibly smart, the game will now dominate the sales charts rather than get drowned out by bigger games if it released this fall.
  • Star Wars has me hyped. The battles look large and chaotic. I can’t wait for it and my only complain is I wish we had seen more.
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Ubisoft

  • South Park was an insane way to start off the show, I didn’t think there would be another South Park game at all, especially this soon after the release of the first. Looking forward to it.
  • For Honor- Knights v. Vikings v. Samurais. This game pumps up my inner kid and I can see this being a great couch co-op game with my friends, who are also kids at heart.
  • The Dark Zone in The Division hyped me up even more for this game because it looks tense and dramatic. I can see players creating their own special stories when adventuring into the Dark Zone. March is a good time to release this game and I really really want it, but I’m trying to hold back my excitement for this title because I think it is more than likely this game will be delayed. It would be unfortunate if The Division ends up being delayed though, I feel we have reached the max amount of times we can see this game. If we see The Division outside of Gamescom this summer, my anticipation will start to dwindle and I expect I won’t be the only one feeling that way.
  • Anno 2205, to me, is futuistic Sims with a progression system. The game looks polished and I imagine it will be a good game, but not my cup of tea.
  • Was Just Dance 2016 the best game for Ubisoft to use celebrities to promote? No, Jason Derulo was mediocre at best.
  • Rainbow 6: Siege’s cinematic was thrilling, but the gameplay demo made the game look too tense to be what I would call fun.
  • Trackmania Turbo is not a game I’m interested in, but I thought the ease of creating random courses was an innovative idea that theoretically adds unlimited replay value to the game.
  • Assassins Creed: Syndicate could be a great game and the gang building intrigued me, but after Unity, the game needs to play well and the fact that we saw no gameplay at the conference is a red flag. I’m hoping for the best but am being hesitant for now.
  • I’m hopeful for Ghost Recon: Wildlands, but it’s too early to pass judgment upon it. Ubisoft does have an intriguing concept for an open world game though.
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Sony

  • Comparatively, it took Sony a long time to get into the games. This irritated me at first, but at the other conferences, the openers were big, high energy games. Sony, instead, led with the mythical Last Guardian. Keeping the opener low energy made more sense in terms of what Sony did, but I don’t know if Last Guardian was the game to lead with. Part of me also feels like this game was in purgatory for so long that it may already be doomed, commercially speaking, but the game looks smooth and atmospheric. I want to wait for reviews, but it will likely be a Day 1 buy in 2016. Part of me hoped it would come out this year, Sony really needs a AAA, first party game this fall/holiday season and this game has been in development for an incredibly long time, but I’m still looking forward to it all the same.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerilla’s new game, looks incredible. The post-apocalyptic, man versus animalistic machines may very well be the most unique concept for a game this year. The fact that the humans are no longer the dominant species and are fighting for resources rather than dominance is intriguing to me. Combat looks dynamic, you see your opponent deteriorate throughout the fight. When you do massive damage, larger, more noticeable chunks detach from the enemy, but quick, weaker attacks appear to do little to the enemies. Everything about Horizon: Zero Dawn’s game design looks charming and divisive and I can’t wait to see more.
  • Hitman had a nice cinematic, but it’s surprising that we didn’t see any gameplay, considering the game is releasing this year. Perhaps there will be more shown at Square Enix.
  • No Man’s Sky, I feel, alleviated the fear that the game world would be large but empty. The waring factions, the sentinels, and even the fish, show that the worlds will be alive and worth exploring. The scope of this game still amazes me, but I am significantly less excited than I was last E3. No Man’s Sky needs to be released before the hype dwindles even further, but I also want the game to turn out well. It’s awkward when games put themselves in the position of being shown too much before release.
  • Media Molecule’s new game Dreams...doesn’t look like a game at all. Instead, they ditched any form of gameplay to create a possibly revolutionary toolbox for game creation. I’m a little uncertain of how this ‘game’ will work, but that’s because the reveal was ambiguous. The community potential is insane because of the variety the game will offer due to it not being committed to any set aesthetic like Little Big Planet or Tearaway was.
  • I’m excited for Firewatch. This game coming to PS4 is a sign that Sony is listening to the fans when deciding which indies they choose to pursue for their home console.
  • The Destiny expansion may be great, but I didn’t get into Destiny at launch and I feel like, at this point, it is too late to get into.
  • Aesthetically, I’m not thrilled with World of Final Fantasy, but it was the only game coming to Vita, so it had to be noted. It will also pale in comparison to the announcement that came right after it.
  • The Final Fantasy VII remake that we thought we weren’t getting is absolute insanity. We won’t play it for years, but it will likely be brilliant when we do get it. Seems like they were just trolling everyone at PSX.
  • I hope the Devolver games come to Vita, they seem like the games that are most likely to come to Vita from the conference, but who knows...
  • I started wondering what I was watching when the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter was revealed. The announcements Sony are making are cerebral, the long shots that everyone have begged for on the Internet for years are finally coming true.
  • Project Morpheus looks to have more gaming support than Occulus, which was expected since Morpheus is made by a company that has a large focus on gaming. That said, I was expecting Sony to devote more time to VR, but I’m glad they didn’t.
  • I laughed when Call of Duty announced they were jumping ship on Microsoft. The business aspect makes sense, but it seems very cutthroat of Activision to abandon the company who housed them for years. Timed DLC is also cliche of the industry and the fact that we are restricting content just because of money is sketchy. So it goes.
  • The show dragged a bit when Disney Infinity came on, but I’m sure a lot of people enjoyed what they had to say. I’m just more of an amiibo guy.
  • Uncharted had a great showing, the buggy demo simply shows that what we saw is a real game and I trust Naughty Dog will iron out all the kinks before release. The graphics of this game are insane though, true next gen from Naughty Dog. The scale of just a single level looks incredible. At first, I thought the demo was cut at a really odd time, but then I realized I was just so involved that I didn’t want it to end.
  • Sony had the best conference by a landslide. I’m happy that I’m part of the Playstation ecosystem because Sony did a great job outlining why their console is where its at.
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Day 1 was super exciting with some epic announcements and some of the best conferences in years. Let me know what you thought in the comments below or on Twitter.

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