E3 Hangover 2017

Wow.

So E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo, or A Reason for Gamers to Lose Their Collective Minds – is over and behind us. There was a lot of information to absorb in a short period of time, and sometimes that time was at odd hours in the morning. But it’s time to re-hydrate and get ourselves back together.

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There are plenty of other folks who have discussed Ubisoft’s performance, Sony’s performance, Bethesda’s performance, Microsoft’s performance, Nintendo’s performance… you get the idea.

I found the differences between consoles strangely emphasized, with Sony talking about the great storytelling experiences they offer, Microsoft showcasing their fabulous graphics and technical prowess, and then Nintendo coming in and talking about how fun games are.

While I think that explains a lot about the focus of these companies, it also seems to explain a lot about their fans… and a lot about why people, whether they are Team Playstation or Team Xbox, tend to love Nintendo.

But I’m not going to talk too much about how everyone presented themselves. Obviously they all wanted to put their best foot forward, and some did so with more success than others. For me, what was most interesting wasn’t what games were presented, but the reaction of the crowds to what was being presented. It seemed the most noticeable reactions were for new games in beloved franchises, which makes sense because we like what we know, but then I realized just how much of the conference was steeped in nostalgic elements.

Nostalgia High

Microsoft’s Xbox One X (which I am officially dubbing XBOX, so please use it everywhere) caused a stir by not only having a very silly sounding name that is far too similar to Xbox One S for its own good, but by being backwards compatible.

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In an age where companies believe that backwards compatibility is something often asked for but rarely used, it was a shock that Microsoft decided to devote some space of the new XBOX (there it is again) to being able to play games from previous consoles. And, judging from the crowd’s response, this was a great move on Microsoft’s part. Now fans can play all their old games without needing every iteration of Xbox that was ever released!

Further excitement came in the form of a re-release of Shadow of the Colossus for Sony’s Playstation 4. A much beloved game that reaches back to the Playstation 2, Shadow of the Colossus has the distinct privilege of being re-made twice across three console generations, so strong is the game’s fanbase. And again, to judge from the crowd, this game will sell like hotcakes.

Speaking of re-releases, I was surprised how excited people became for the 4568th release of Skyrim for Nintendo’s Switch, complete (?) with amiibo interactivity. This is a title that will also be released for VR, as well, so now fans will be able to have the most true-to-life first-person experience available to gamers today. I suppose Bethesda wouldn’t keep churning the game out if people weren’t buying it. Over and over and over again.

Variations on a Theme

Even fairly recent games cashed in on the feel-good feelings flying around the conference, with games like Uncharted getting another game notched into its belt, this time with a much different protagonist to Nathan Drake. Horizon: Zero Dawn will have some DLC added, giving Aloy a new adventure. Middle Earth: Shadow of War was also showcased, giving all us Tolkien fans another chance to play in Middle Earth (and bonus points for staying true to some of the finer points of power in Tolkien lore!).

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And of course, may games showed off how they could take their tried-and-true series in new and interesting directions.

Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy is shaking things up with female protagonists. Dad God of War takes Kratos, sometime Greek tragedy and sometime mass-murderer, and plops him into fatherhood. Far Cry 5 is taking shots at extremism in America, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins is plopping us into the middle of ancient Egypt. Even Skull and Bones seems to be capitalizing on how successful Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was.

Tried and true seemed to be the theme of the expo, and the fans seemed to love it.

Link’s Fishing Adventure Go Fishing with People from Final Fantasy XV

Square Enix, wat r u doing?

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Square Enix, stahp.

Virtual Reality

Sony pulled out a bunch of stops for its VR lineup, throwing around old familiars like Fallout 4, Skyrim, Super Hot, and Doom, but also surprising us with Star Child, which looks like a 2D sidescroller more than a game in virtual reality, along with The Inpatient, which might shape up to be a fascinating first-person look into the world of a psychiatric patient. Although I have some concerns about virtual reality, that last game really sparked my interest. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford VR…

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Casual Nintendo

Now, I don’t have a problem telling Nintendo what I think they’re doing wrong but it’s also important to give credit where it’s due. Nintendo casually strolled in and quietly gave fans exactly what they wanted. Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a Pokemon game coming down the pipeline, an adorable Kirby game where you can literally throw love at your enemies, Breath of the Wild expansion packs, Super Mario Odyssey and its magical, inanimate-object-possessing hat, and… well…

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It was only 38 seconds long, and was comprised of these words slowly filling the screen, but the Metroid series is coming back in style with another Prime title on the Switch!

I’m fairly shocked that Nintendo actually, you know, gave their customers what they wanted, but kudos to them. After the initial hesitance toward a console with a small game lineup, they are showing that they still know how to hit their players right in the nostalgia with their games.

Innovation High

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I jest, of course.

What is innovation, really? Is it a reimagining of an old game, like God of War 4 or Super Mario Odyssey? Or is it utilizing a new hardware mechanic like in Arms? Or is it an original story or way of experiencing games? Although this E3 was full of nostalgic moments that made crowds go wild, and fantastically re-imagined stories in our favorite franchises, there is enough new technology out there to make this an exciting time for gamers.

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Star Child was teased, as was The Inpatient, and Moss. Even BioWare stepped away from their successful Mass Effect and Dragon Age series in favor of quietly mentioning their new IP, Anthem. So there is plenty of “new” flying around to keep our curiosity of what could happen very high.

Self-Indulgent

Of course, as many of you know, I’m not a big “specs” person. I want to be able to play my games, and to do that I need a machine that can handle the game. Other people are more passionate about graphics and frame rates and things like that, so I’ll leave them to discuss those parts of gaming, but before I go, I just wanted to share a few games that caught my eye and I will be watching fairly closely:

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

I mentioned a while ago in a comment that I was concerned about where another Middle Earth game would take Talion. Tolkien lore is ever-expanding, and the author himself said that it’s a world that will be expanded on by others. But there are central themes in Tolkien’s work about power that I think could really shake the lore to its roots if not followed. The corruption caused by power is one of those central themes. At the end of Shadow of Mordor, I was concerned that Talion’s quest for power would wind up corrupting the Tolkien lore, as Talion “couldn’t” be the bad guy.

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I had chills when I heard the bellow that the orcs “serve the Bright Master.” He’s going down that dark path. And I love a good fallen hero…

The Inpatient

This is either going to be a fantastic game or one that I absolutely loathe. As a therapist, I often seen various clinical populations I work with grossly misunderstood IRL and misrepresented in the media, so The Inpatient has a chance to really show people what it’s like to live with a mental health issue, or to show people the horrors of living as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. If done well, this could be a powerful narrative.

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Of course, it could also be done poorly, presenting a caricature of mental health concerns and situations, only adding to the misinformation available. If this happens, not only would it be a disservice to people who live with mental health diagnoses, it would even be a subpar experience for the gamers. From my experience on the therapist side of the couch, so to speak, fact could be a more powerful experience than fiction.

Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild DLC, and Yoshi

I don’t have a Switch, but these look cool. I love the idea of Mario’s hat possessing things, although I can’t quite say why…

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And you can see the felt material of the hat…

And Yoshi is of course the more adorable little dinosaur. Putting him in a game that is reminiscent of Paper Mario can only yield good things!

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Metroid Prime 4

I mean, c’mon. It’s a Metroid Prime game.

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God of War 4

Because I’m a sucker for a story with a father/son or parent/child relationship in it. The original God of War was a great depiction of a Greek tragedy. This idea was sadly thrown away for the second and third installments of the game, making Kratos a murder machine. So.. now he has a kid, and I’m interested to see how fatherhood has changed him.

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This… is… KRATOS!!

Shadow of the Colossus

I own this game on Playstation 3, after they remade it from the Playstation 2 version. It seems like they are remastering it for the current generation. I love this game, but I wonder if dropping another $60 will be worth it for some “improved graphics” (as per my feelings on graphics mentioned above). The PS3 version I have looks fine, in my opinion. But it was great to see them remaking such a classic game, and I’ll be watching to see if they have any other surprises in store for us with this one’s release.

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…and, of course…

Anthem

Say what you will about Mass Effect: Andromeda, but BioWare writes solid stories with interesting characters. Even Dragon Age II finds its redemption in its characters and story ideas. he fact that this was mentioned so casually makes me think that they learned (at least a little) from the ultra-hype of Andromeda, and so just wanted to let us know that they haven’t disappeared, and that they have more up their sleeves than dragons and space bugs.

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Full disclosure, I definitely have brand loyalty to them, so this is a game I will definitely be picking up.

What were your favorite moments of E3? Are there any games that you’ll be watching? Any new “must haves”? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

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24 thoughts on “E3 Hangover 2017

  1. Getting hyped for FFXIV Stormblood was great for me, as it’s now out on early access 🙂 It’s so cool to play stuff soon after E3. But overall, Spiderman was the most exciting thing I saw.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. -The Xbox One X reveal looked like a scene kid’s myspace name. That’s all I have to contribute to that discussion.

    -I’ve been curious for a while about Shadow of Mordor and how it works within Tolkien’s canon, but most importantly, I am really curious about what Christopher Tolkien thinks of it.

    -Even though Bethesda has been milking the Skyrim cow for a while now, I’ll admit I am the tiniest bit curious about playing it in VR. I don’t think I’d buy the console for just the one game though (plus the one time I tried a VR game I got motion sickness).

    -Few things have been so bastardised by media as mental health and mental health issues, so I see why someone in your line of work would be wary of how they approach the subject matter. I think the best takes on mental health issues (at least the ones I have personally experienced) have come from independent creators instead of the bigger companies.

    – I am very very excited about Anthem. 😀

    I didn’t really keep up with EVERYTHING that happened during E3. I am a filthy casual, I know. But, I did watch the Devolver Digital conference expecting news on Eitr and instead I got the weirdest piece of performance art ever (I think).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure what this “filthy casual” thing is you speak of :), but I’m glad there were a few things you found interesting (or at least was entertaining performance art! I’m enjoying following the VR news, because I tend to get first-person sickness (it’s getting better), so I can only imagine what VR would be like.

      Shadow of Mordor is a great game and has a pretty interesting story. I talked a little about it on the site, but overall I was very pleased with it. It seems like Shadow of War will be another good installment. I’d be interested to hear what Christopher Tolkien thinks, but I haven’t come across any sort of public statement by him or anything.

      And woot for Anthem 🙂

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      1. Apparently it is a decease that can only be cured when you “git gud”. 😛

        I’ll admit I am interested in Christopher Tolkien’s opinion of the games because of his strong opinions against Jackson and his adaptations.

        Anyway, I just read the articles linked here, and other articles about how the game relates to the canon. It’s pretty interesting that the public’s opinion on the first game seems to be polarised. Some reviews say it’s a complete insult to Tolkien and others say that the game works, if not within the canon, within the themes of Middle-Earth and the oftentimes conflicting ideas Tolkien had about war. If anything, a game that causes such a strong reaction is worth a try.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s definitely worth a try!! I greatly enjoyed my time playing 🙂 Also, it may help with git gud-ing… haha

          Now you’ve made me curious. I’ll have to dig around and see if dear Christopher has weighed in…

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  3. My thoughts on Squeenix: *headdesk* I’m VERY interested in that God of War. That looks amazing. I remember the first few games, and comparatively, Kratos looks so…tired, like world weary and world wary. It’s not just the beard, it’s his entire face. I have a feeling that game is going to be a gigantic tearjerker.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d agree with that (both the headdesk and the analysis of God of War). Kratos has been through a lot and done some pretty incredible – and horrible – things, so I wouldn’t be surprised at the shift in energy/attitude. And yes, anytime parent/child relationships are in games, depressing drama seems to ensue… It certainly has my attention!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The announcement that Xbox back compat was going to expand to the original Xbox was hugely welcome for me. It reminds me of one of the reasons I fought to get an original 60gig PS3, which could play PSX and PS2 games.

    Outside of that, I was impressed by Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Anthem, Ashen, Mario + Rabbids, Mario Odyssey, and God of War. That said, nothing really blew me away like Mario + Rabbids and Mario Odyssey, it all seemed very safe or known prior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, hopefully if the new XBOX is successful, other companies will get on-board with backward compatibility,

      There were a lot of familiar players at E3, weren’t there? I’m not a big Rabbids fan, but I can see how that game grabbed some interest! And of course Mario Odyssey should prove to be a unique Mario experience!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really find it interesting how story-heavy things are getting. I know promos often lead with stories because you’ll have something ready to show there before you’ll have something ready on the gameplay side, but even so, it seemed a lot of games are selling themselves on their story more than their gameplay. Like, even in games that do have gameplay in a showable state, like God of War, the trailers still put more emphasis on the plot and setting than they do on the combat.

    It does kind of show how far games have come, that publishers consider the story one of the biggest selling points now. I’m a little worried that we’re seeing the early signs of that being taken too far, what with EA’s showcase dropping a story mode on literally everything, to the point that there will be enough backlash to token stories to ruin it for everyone, but as a player that enjoys a good story, I’m looking forward to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I’m a little worried that we’re seeing the early signs of that being taken too far, what with EA’s showcase dropping a story mode on literally everything, to the point that there will be enough backlash to token stories to ruin it for everyone […]”

      Seconding this. Reading about Madden 18’s story mode made me think that some series will be getting a story mode whether or not their traditional players like it. I mean, for all we know it might enhance the game, but if those games fall short on delivering what is already excepted of them, I am sure players will blame it on companies spreading themselves too thin to include this new feature.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Those were my thoughts. Too much of a good thing can be very, very bad. It’s a testament to games as a storytelling medium that it’s the stories that sell games, but some games don’t need some deep, meaningful story to make their point, like you said.

      I have my popcorn ready, although I can’t say any amount of “story mode” will convert me into a hardcore Madden fan… 😉

      Like

  6. Haters gonna hate… I can’t wait to play Final Fantasy Fishing! /sarcasm

    Great summary! I almost cried when Metroid Prime 4 was announced. I’m very concerned about Beyond Good and Evil 2. It’s not the universe I have fond memories of and I wanted to punch that monkey when he started talking, haha. Hopefully Ubisoft will pull it off. I haven’t played Shadow of the Colossus or Skyrim yet so I’m also excited for those. Ubisoft’s XCOM Mario game took me by complete surprise. Seeing how much the developer cared about it makes me want to support it.

    I just finished HZD and am absolutely thrilled Aloy is getting more story. I miss her already 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! There were definitely some cool highlights, like you mentioned.

      I saw you posted something on HZD! I’ll have to check it out, or at least the non-spoiler parts 🙂 I’m sort of excited for more of her story, even from the few hours I spent in that world.

      Oh… yeah… so… um… let me know how that fishing thing goes…! (forced enthusiasm for solidarity purposes) haha

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really respect Microsoft for stepping up and really pushing backwards compatibility for all generations of their consoles. It truly is a lost art. And one thing that people aren’t talking about, or bringing up as a negative, their games shown didn’t really have any exclusives, if you count that many are for PS4, and even Windows. But that’s the thing. The fact that Microsoft is doing such player friendly moves to allow them to play things like Gear, halo and many of their upcoming games on Windows is a great move that isn’t being acknowledged. I still think MS is not selling people best on Xbox One X, and I still can’t see why it needs to be a thing, but man their hearts are in the right place.

    And asides from MS, Metroid Prime 4…. so happy we are getting this at last! I’ve missed this franchise so much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting! For all my bluster about games selling consoles, I didn’t really pay attention to what was XBOX (I’m really trying, here) exclusive. I wonder if they’re reacting to how “player friendly” the PS4 was with sharing games, so now they’re making an effort to give gamers the backward compatibility they wanted in order to compete. Their hearts certainly are in the right place! If the Falcon drops by, he’d be able to give more insight into Microsoft’s workings, I’m sure, but I think, as usual, the companies that have a lot of focus on what the console does/what games it can play will get the love, not simply how powerful the console is. That seems more like a PC gamer concern…? Feel free to correct me on that!

      I’m glad Metroid Prime is making a comeback. Hopefully it lives up to the hype!! Fans deserve a good game 🙂

      Like

  8. I’m on the fence with Anthem. The world looks pretty and the gameplay seems cool, but I’m not so sure if I want to pick up a game that’s solely multiplayer focused. It looks to be that way with the Destiny comparisons. I guess we’ll see how I feel when more news is released! Shadow of War looks good, so I’m eying that one for sure. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hopeful for it, especially since it’s sort of the game that caused all the problems with Andromeda… I have a feeling EA is slowly trying to dismantle BioWare, so I’m hoping it’s more than Destiny 2.5.

      And yes, looking forward to another Tolkien-inspired game!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. i would like to say It’s pretty interesting that the public’s opinion on the first game seems to be polarised. Some reviews say it’s a complete insult to Tolkien and others say that the game works, if not within the canon, within the themes of Middle-Earth and the oftentimes conflicting ideas Tolkien had about war. If anything, a game that causes such a strong reaction is worth a try.

    Like

    1. It’s definitely worth a try! I rather enjoyed my time with Shadow of Mordor, and thought it fit well within Tolkien-esque themes, so I wasn’t bothered too much by it. I talked a lot in my other article about this, but I definitely recommend the game and will be playing the second one!

      Like

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