Hello, Gaming Hub! This is BlueHighwind, the winner of last month's Nintendo Wiki Golden Ticket Giveaway. So I've been back from E3 for over a week now, and have already written about 10,000 words on the E3 experience. But heck, one more can't hurt, can it? JAlbor asked me to put up one final reaction post here on the Gaming Hub Wiki, so here is one last finale.
Anyway, just in case anybody has missed anything, here's a collection of all the posts:
So just to review, I'll break down the most important points of those previous posts.
Winner of E3 2014: Nintendo
Sony and Microsoft both gave spirited efforts, trying to make strong arguments for their latest consoles. Microsoft was strong right out of the gate, making sure their talk was "about the games", and tried to re-focus their brand away from the Kinect, and back towards hardcore AAA gaming. Unfortunately in doing so, Microsoft doubled-down on generic, hyper-realistic action titles, making for a conference that showed very little that excited me. Sony ran what they thought was their final victory lap, but gave a rather dull show. Nobody can complain about Batman: Arkham Knight, or Metal Gear Solid V, or the biggest surprise of E3 2014, the gorgeous No Man's Sky, but though Sony did well, they still have not sold me on a PlayStation 4. Most of the "next-gen" games are still available on the PlayStation 3. I'm sure soon enough I'll need a PS4, but the console I'd like to have in my life this year is a Wii U.
Nintendo won for a number of reasons, primarily by remaining fun and innovative. (Ironically though, the most exciting game they had to show was Smash Bros 4, a game that was more or less exactly the same as Brawl and Melee before it, but still the most irresistible thing at E3 this year.) I managed to attend the Smash Bros 4 tournament, which replaced the traditional live theater conference. Even though I've been a hard core Smashhead since the Nintendo 64 days, I was shocked to see the outpouring of love and affection from the Nintendo fans for this game. People were weeping in joy. You don't get that every day. Along with that, Nintendo finally is giving a Toad a game with Captain Toad: Treasure Trackers, which played like a simple but incredibly fun puzzle game. Splatoon arrived to subvert the boring old hyper-realistic military shooter with a colorful inventive multiplayer experience. Bayonetta 2 continues the excellent brawling nature of the original - I didn't even need to play this game, I already knew how much fun it would be just by one look. And Mario Maker brings the modding culture to the masses, allowing anybody to make the hardest Mario levels they can devise, then torture their friends with it.
And even though there wasn't much to be seen of them, the announcements of a new Zelda and a new Star Fox were enough to guarantee my purchase of a WiiU. Zelda is my favorite series of all time, and I will follow it to the gates of Hell. Luckily though, all I need do is follow it to what is clearly the best next-gen console for pure, classic gaming fun.
Coming into E3, there were already a number of games that I knew would be must-buys. Any Rocksteady Batman game is going to rock, The Phantom Pain looked incredible at last year's E3 and only looks better this year, and Smash 4 is Smash 4. However, there were a number of games that really took me by surprise. I already covered Nintendo's fabulous line-up, with most of its titles coming out of nowhere, but here are some of the other games that looked equally incredible:
Alien: Isolation - I was already interested in this title thanks to it being a clear homage to the original 1979 Alien movie. I had no idea it would be so utterly terrifying though. By the time I finally gave up on the demo, I had difficulty re-adjusting to the real world. I could barely walk I was so shaken. This is a game with a deeply unforgiving difficulty curve where you will get munched on by a Xenomorph several dozen times, and I'd suggest you play it with the lights on.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax - I played a number of fighting games at E3 this year, Mortal Kombat X, Smash 4, but Persona 4 Arena was the biggest shock. I assumed that since it was a tournament fighter made by Atlus, a company whose main focus is niche incredibly weird RPGs starring high schoolers commanding occult demons, that their attempt at a fighting game would be stiff and terrible. However it was fluid, creative, filled with all kinds of attacks and easily-learned combos. Traditional 2D fighters do not get better than this.
No Man's Sky - This game unfortunately was not available for play at E3. But a two minute gameplay trailer was enough to show the world that this was something incredible. I wish more of the game was available so we could have something to rely on other than hype, but even as just a colorful presentation of space exploration and dinosaur planets full of orange forests, No Man's Sky was the most incredible-looking next-gen game at E3 this year. I'm managed to find the music from the trailer on Youtube and I've been jamming to it for almost two weeks now.
It's hard to give a proper judgment of E3 2014, since actually being there in the heart of games journalism and hype makes it incredibly difficult to give a subjective judgment. I'm certain though that if this had been just another year where I was watching streams on my crappy, laggy laptop and writing reaction posts on my blog, that I would have left with a less positive reaction of the entire show. The negatives were rather clear: Square Enix completely shot themselves in the foot with Final Fantasy XV (AGAIN!), Sonic Boom was a terrible disappointment, and so many of the triple AAA games that were supposed to excite me, such as the new Assassin's Creed, most of the shooters, and for some reason Dragon Age: Inquisition, did not leave much of an impression. But overall, I'll still say that this E3 was clearly above average. There were plenty of incredible games that will be out just over the horizon, and again, Nintendo gave such a great showing that nobody but the most heartless could be dissatisfied.
I'll also say that actually going to E3 did make a huge difference, and I could not be happier with the experience. Yes, 90% of my memories are waiting in lines, and for some reason the convention experience will leave you more exhausted than a proper hike up desert mountains, but it's something that every aspiring gaming commentator needs to see for themselves. All of the other Wikia Admins who were invited along for this adventure were awesome people, and the Wikia Staff who came along treated us like proper colleagues and friends. This was the kind of place where you could save yourself the boredom of an especially long line by striking up a conversation with a random stranger about the narrative faults of Bioshock: Infinite, or discuss Eighties anime over dinner. It was definitely the highlight of my 2014 so far, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to represent Nintendo fans, and Wikia in general. I just hope that my ramblings have been useful to some people.
Really though, now I somehow have to get enough money to buy all these games... Damn you marketing!