E3 2019 roundup


The biggest calendar event in gaming, E3 has come and gone once again, and as usual there’s been surprises, disappointments and lots and lots of games! Sony’s absence this year was jarring but not all that missed as there was still plenty to gush over, some of which, my personal highlights, I’ve detailed below…

Microsoft

I was majorly hyped going into this press conference that kick-started E3 2019 and have to admit … I came away a little disappointed. Big games announced the previous year like Gears of War 5 (now simply called Gears 5??) and Halo Infinite were shown but with little to no game play. I wasn’t really expecting much from Halo, but more was shown of Gears last year than we got in this initial press conference. A strong focus on the multiplayer was also concerning.

However, a ton of games were revealed, a good amount of exclusives such as the new game from Ninja Theory ‘Bleeding Edge‘ which looked cool but a bit too Overwatch-y for me. A release date for the long-awaited Ori and the Will of the Wisps was welcome, even if February 2020 still seems like a long wait. There just wasn’t that big ‘wow’ moment I had hoped for unless you count Keanu Reeves coming on stage to reveal the release date for Cyberpunk 2077 (April 3020) – which admittedly was rather cool. Even a reveal of-such of Microsoft’s next console ‘Project Scarlett‘ didn’t do much – what does it look like? How much will it cost? Still, 4 times more power than Xbox One X? Where do I sign?

Overall the show entertained, showed a lot but never really took off for me, which was unexpected considering all the promise of last year. Xbox is clearly in good shape and has plenty still to offer, but with PS5 on the horizon, this wasn’t quite enough to silence the nay-sayers.

Nintendo

Ok Nintendo truly knocked it out of the park with a Nintendo Direct and Treehouse hands-on that showcased a good amount of games I’d really want to play. Luigi’s Mansion 3 looked incredible, as did the personally-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I was also really impressed with Astro Chain. Oh, and The Witcher 3 is getting a Switch port? That’s pretty damn amazing. Animal Crossing delayed till 2020? Oh well, it didn’t float my boat much anyway. There was also no sign of Bayonetta 3 or Metroid Prime 4.

However it was the confirmation and teaser trailer for a sequel to Breath of the Wild that genuinely blew my mind. I’m suddenly excited about Nintendo Switch all over again!! That’s how you deliver the goods at E3.

The other guys

Ubisoft’s conference was decent. I’m certainly now hyped for the amazing looking Watchdogs Legion, and the new Ghost Recon Breakpoint game looked cool too. A lack (again) of a Splinter Cell announcement was disappointing though.

Square Enix showed more of the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake which looked lush. However I remain on the fence about Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game. The Switch version of Dragon Quest XI looks great though.

Bethesda seemed to take a long time apologising for Fallout 76, but did manage to show off Doom Eternal and various game expansions and mobile games (a growing trend at E3). The new game from Arkane Studios ‘Death Loop‘ looked freaky and interesting, as did ‘Ghostwire Tokyo‘.

Nintendo and a few others aside , a reliance on pre-rendered cinematic trailers rather than hands-on game play footage was problematic (no Cyberpunk game play after all this time?) but this year E3 still proved it’s worth and remains for me the best way to get hyped about the games industry … an annual event I truly hope never disappears.

Game of E3: for me it’s definitely Watchdogs Legion

Biggest surprise: Breath of the Wild sequel teaser

That’s all from me for now.  Lots to look forward to on the gaming horizon.

Craig.

Impressions: Darksiders 2


I haven’t done a game impressions for a long time, and was sort of moving the blog away from gaming related posts (with a few exceptions) but I felt compelled to tell people my absolute love of the game Darksiders 2 by Vigil Games.  The follow-up to the critically acclaimed fantasy adventure game, this follows the story of Death, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who during the same time his brother War has destroyed mankind and struggles to right his own wrong (in Darksiders #1), Death is out to destroy Absalom from corrupting and destroying an alternate dimension.  Ok, I probably didn’t have a clue what the story was, too side tracked by exploring beautiful dungeons and solving puzzles, collecting loot and upgrading my character with new outfits, weapons and abilities.  The world presented to the player here is absolutely vast, made up of various realms, all of them huge and full of secrets and stacks of enemies.  The balance however compared to similar games is just right … plenty of exploration, with bits of fighting thrown in, usually leading up to an encounter with a huge boss.

This kind of stuff is gaming gold for me, a gamer who prefers to explore, have time to think and not just brainlessly button bash his way through hoards of enemies until the credits roll.  The world, with endless imagination is a wonder to behold, like a graphic-novel brought to life and hats off to the art team at Vigil for creating something truly awe-inspiring.  Truly one of the best looking games on XBOX 360 (or PS3 for that matter).

I finished this just a few minutes ago, having clocked in a whopping 34 hours, and although I defeated the final boss, I can still go back and explore to my heart’s content, finish any left over side-quests or just download extra levels and pad out my time in the game even more.  For now I think I’ll give it a little break, with several other games on my to-play list, but for now may I recommend Darksiders 2 to any gamer who is a fan of dungeon exploring, huge worlds, RPG elements and a few nods to the likes of God Of War and The Legend Of Zelda.  This is quite simply one of the finest games I’ve played in a long time.