Our Impressions of E3 2017 – Part 2

…Continued from Part 1

Ubisoft

Ubisoft

Tyler Erickson:
Ubisoft easily wins the “most improved” award this year. They finally got rid of the disastrous formula of years past, and replaced Aisha Tyler with several developers who took the stage one after the other. This allowed the passion and feeling behind their respective games to shine through and made for a much better show. It also helped that they had much better games, from Rabbids + Mario, to Skull and Bones, and to Assassin’s Creed. Definitely an improvement on last year. If I’m being honest, I’ve already pre-ordered a Ubisoft title even though I promised myself I would never do so again.

Eugene Belmont:
I feel I can’t have a social discussion with the general population about my love for video games because they just wouldn’t understand my passion for them. I could probably do so with some of the developers of this conference though. We usually see too much corporate presence at these events, but I enjoyed seeing the emotion and the passion behind the makers of these games. The big call out for me was Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I know a lot of people may cringe at the idea of a Mario + Rabbids RTS crossover, but I’m genuinely excited about the concept. Beyond Good and Evil 2 was also a nice surprise, and it was nice to see the team come up on stage to celebrate its unveiling. Oh, yeah…. SKULL AND BONES!!! Give me my Black Flag naval battle game already!

Sam Goldstein:
I am interested in seeing how Skull and Bones turns out, mostly because I enjoy Rainbow Six: Siege and expect to see a similar competitive formula in place here. I also love that era of ship combat, which is highly tactical and criminally under-represented in gaming.

Dan Stewart:
Ubisoft conferences are always the most bizarre ones for me, often filled with awkward jokes and empty promises. So I went into this year’s conference with very low expectations. I’m happy to say I was surprised to see three games that really did catch my eye. Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Far Cry 5 both look like great evolutions of their respective franchises that brought new features and impressive graphics that won me over. I just hope the release versions match up with the quality we saw at E3. The big surprise was somehow Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which ended up being the game that I want the most out of the whole of E3. Mario meets XCOM? Looks like it’s time to buy a Switch.

Nat Edson:
This one was an absolute roller coaster ride of emotions. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is caught halfway between being really interesting and overtly stupid. There’s some fun looking XCOM gameplay tied together by an awful theme. Skull and Bones started exciting, and then rapidly became very boring. Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed: Origins were obvious highlights as well. Starlink: Battle of Atlas has to take the gold, however, for a game that took the least amount of time to make my interest plummet with the peripheral reveal.

Rami Tabari:
This conference had an awesome start only because Shigeru Miyamoto came out holding a Bullet Bill gun in his hand. Other than that and the whole Mario + Rabbids reveal (which I’m caught between loving or hating), it was pretty unmemorable. Sure, we got to see AC: Origins and Far Cry 5, but the excitement is quickly killed by Ubisoft’s recent incompetence to develop a good game. While AC: Origins does seem promising, the gameplay reveal makes look it like a Breath of the Wild meets Dark Souls scenario. That may sounds awesome, but come on, it’s Ubisoft. They’re bound it mess this one up. And Far Cry 5 looks just plain ugly. For 2017 graphics, it’s pretty bad, and it’s not because it’s in development; the style just looks awful. And with that, the gameplay itself doesn’t seem all that different from Far Cry 3 & 4. Ubisoft is good at presenting trailers, but they’re not good at making games. That’s the bottom line.

Mike Solseth:
How the hell does a company that usually has the most cringe-worthy moments at E3 actually win the expo?! A lot of great games emerged out of their corner.  Assassin’s Creed Origins and Far Cry 5 stood out the most, but there was also that shocking announcements of the Rabbids crossover with Mario, the Sea of Thieves competitor Skull & Bone, and the long awaited return of Beyond Good & Evil 2. I have to give credit where it is due, especially since it does feel like this has been a long time coming. Congrats to Ubisoft for pulling off some legit shocks this year. I can’t wait to play their games.

Graham Hale:
Like most people, I didn’t have high expectations for Ubisoft. This is a company that’s well-known for their lackluster conferences, and I expected much of the same for this E3. However, I would be proven wrong by the end of their presentation. Not only did they take a different approach this year, but they brought some solid titles to showcase as well. There were a few titles that stood out for me, with the most prominent being the one that will be showcased on the Nintendo Switch: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. First of all, it’s great to see Nintendo receiving third party support to ensure a long and healthy lifespan of their newest console. As for the game itself, I’m super excited to try out this XCOM styled game set in the combined universes of Mario and Rabbids. This is not your typical Mario game, which is a welcomed change. Overall, this game looks impressive, and I can’t wait to play it.

Ubisoft announced title after title that kept the audience engaged, and besides the known titles, Ubisoft brought some surprises to the event. One of their biggest surprises came in the form of an online multiplayer battle royale on the open seas, where you fight pirates with your own vessel. This is the promising title Skull and Bones. From everyone’s reaction, I could tell that this was a game that no one knew was coming, but very excited to see. I was one of them too. But since its a Ubisoft title, it’s hard to not be hesitant when I see such an ambitious title. Let’s face it, they don’t have the best track record for online games. Just look at For Honor and The Division. But a part of me really hopes that they get this release right. It’s slated for a Fall 2018 release, so I hope this gives them enough time to lock down a successful release.

Along with these 2 titles, Ubisoft had a strong line of upcoming games shown on the big screen, and I think most people are happy with what Ubisoft has in store for the future. Good job Ubisoft.

Sony Playstation

Sony PlayStation

Tyler Erickson:
I expected this to be a sort of down year for Sony at E3, but I was still surprised by what we saw. We saw some incredible games – God of War, Days Gone, Spider Man, Detroit: Become Human, and more new content for Horizon: Zero Dawn – but the problem is that’s the same list of amazing looking games we saw at last year’s E3 conference. The only real surprise was Monster Hunter Worlds, and I guess I’ll give credit for a remake in Shadow of the Colossus. The question is, after Sony spent so much money on agreements with Activision for Call of Duty and Destiny, and Electronic Arts for Star Wars Battlefront and FIFA, why did we see so little of these titles? Show them and show the advantages of getting one on PlayStation. I didn’t see any argument for that this year. They had plenty of time to do this, but they decided to hold a surprisingly short 50-some minutes conference. It’s clear they chose to hold some games back for shows later in the year, but they still have to be evaluated for what they did here. And it simply wasn’t enough.

Eugene Belmont:
Oh boy. I had such high expectations, Sony. What happened? The conference was relatively short (about one hour) which is not like them at all. It felt like we got a rehashed version of last years conference, with only a few other titles announced. We got gameplay footage of Days Gone, which was a lot more impressive than in 2016, but still an absence of a release date. This was the theme for the entire conference. Sony barely managed to give any release dates for any of their major titles. The closest we got was God of War‘s release window of early 2018. The game did look incredible, and dove deeper into the gameplay and characters in the story. Monster Hunter Worlds surprised everyone, and it’ll be interesting to see the franchise back on the PlayStation, and how gameplay and multiplayer mechanics will work. To much of our surprise as well, we got an announcement of one of the PlayStation’s most adored classics, Shadow of the Colossus, which appears to be a remake rather than just a visual upgrade. It had a release window of 2018, but we’ll see what happens.

We saw footage of third party support, like Call of Duty, Destiny, and Skyrim on PSVR, but the majority of it was pretty lackluster. The conference ended with extended gameplay of Spider-Man, developed by Insomniac, that looked and played fantastic. It seemed like this would have been Sony’s big bet for this holiday, but once again, we were not given a definitive release date. Strangely absent, especially to my disappointment, was The Last of Us 2. The huge reveal last year shocked everyone, but unlike other first party’s announced in 2016, it did not come back. I imagine that we probably won’t see this game for a very long time now – maybe not until 2019. Overall, Sony failed to connect with their fans and seemed to only recycle last year’s announcements. They did bring back titles such as Detroit: Become Human and a new expansion for Horizon, but we were missing one key thing: solid release dates. This goes against the trend of all the other conferences at E3 this year, as most made sure to stay focused on releases.

Dan Stewart:
When I compare this year’s Sony conference to their last few years, I can’t help but feel a little let down by it all. Yeah, Spider-Man looks really cool, but it also looks like a quick time event filled, cutscene intercut, Arkham series clone; not exactly something we haven’t seen before. Other than that, we got our first look at Monster Hunter World, which looks fun, but I definitely need to see more before I’m sold. God of War looked impressive enough to stop the conference from being totally dead, and Days Gone is showing potential. I can’t shake the feeling a downgrade is coming to the game though, with its seemingly massive scale that seems way too ambitious (No Mans Sky 2 anyone?).

Nat Edson:
Sony managed to come at us with a lot of impressive stuff that was somewhat mitigated by sound problems and an overabundance of sizzle reels. Most was stuff I already knew about that they simply showed a little more of, which was all fine and dandy, but it did little to build real excitement for me. Spider-Man somehow managed to look pretty bland, which is a shame as I was fairly excited for it. The stand out for me was the announcement of a remastered edition of Shadow of Colossus, which remains my favorite game to this day.

Rami Tabari:
Where was that audio Sony? Did you accidentally cover the speakers with your fans’ hopes and dreams for cross-platform play? I think you did. Sony, why are you so stubborn? Just play ball for once, for the sake of cross-platform’s future. I mean, sure you had some great trailers, but we’ve seen a lot of it already. You really hit me with that Monster Hunter reveal though, but then you lost me when I found out it was on Xbox as well. And where were the indie games? You’re usually the first one to hop on the innovative indie game bandwagon. You may have all the AAA the games and while those games are admittedly great, your presentation felt like I was watching a middle-aged man trying to act cool around a bunch of teenagers. From your ridiculous waterfall to people literally hanging from the ceiling, it was unnecessary and over the top. This convention is about games, remember?

Ryan DePalma:
Am I the only one who liked this conference? Maybe I’m just a sucker for cinematic trailers and glowing waterfalls. Yeah, the lack of release dates sucked, but didn’t we expect that? As for the games themselves, God Of War was as breathtaking as always. Finally seeing some game play reignited my interest in the Nordic sequel to the series. I can’t see Kratos as a good father figure, which is exactly why I’m curious to see where this narrative goes. Destiny 2 had a cool looking trailer, but a trailer isn’t nearly enough to sate my desire for the sequel. The PlayStation timed exclusives feel a little ridiculous for a game on three separate systems. You’d expect Bungie to learn from the first game.

I’m going to give Monster Hunter World its own section because I cannot contain my hype for this game. This announcement came out of nowhere! As a long time fan of the Monster Hunter franchise, it’s nice to see Capcom create exactly what the players want: an open world, graphically impressive, console and PC hunting experience. They added in some multi-use grappling hook that seriously re-hauled player interaction with both the monster and the environment, and some tracking bugs that, well, track things. I can’t wait to see how they affect weapon move-sets and basic combat. I’m slightly worried that Monster Hunter World will lose some of the cartoon-ish charm that makes Monster Hunter so unique, but I trust that Capcom knows what their players want.

Mike Solseth:
Going into this conference, I was getting so much hate over at NeoGaf for saying “Microsoft raised the bar!” and “Sony isn’t going to win so easily this year.” So many people were calling me an idiot and many other harsh things that I had to lay low until the coast was clear. Lo and behold, that after the conference, I WAS RIGHT! I wanted to brag so hard, but I felt like I’d be painting a bigger target on my back. Sony E3 2017 was honestly Sony E3 2016 with a few minor changes. Mind you that it did give us my “Game of the Show” award with Monster Hunter World, but that was only because it was confirmed a few minutes later on Twitter that World will be released on Xbox One and PC, too. Meanwhile, there were (I think) two gameplay demos during their conference, a rinse and repeat of games shown last year being shown again this year (with no solid release dates), and so many games that went MIA that it left people asking, “Wait… that’s it?” when it was all said and done. Don’t get me wrong, there are still games I’m interested in, but at least now people are starting to catch on to Sony’s same song and dance act. Still, I can’t wait for God of War, Shadows of the Colossus, and Spider-Man (when they eventually come out).

Graham Hale:
Okay, now that I got the “good” of the other conferences out of the way, let’s move onto the “bad”. Surprisingly, the “bad” this year is Sony. I consider it “bad” primarily because most of what they showed us was a rehashing of last year’s E3 conference. Now, this would not have been such a bad thing if these titles came with concrete release dates to get fans excited again, but release dates were few and far between. This seems to be a recurring theme for Sony’s conference, and it seems that this is starting to wear thin on PlayStation fans.

One positive thing that came from Sony’s conference this year is that they were able to get me excited for one of their upcoming AAA titles. Days Gone was a big part of their showcase last year, but I felt the gameplay that was shown did nothing to persuade me to become invested; it seemed like ANOTHER zombie horde game. But this year they kept the zombie horde idea to a minimum, and instead they focused on the human aspect of the game. There were zombies, sure, but that wasn’t the trailer’s main focus point, which was a welcomed change for me and likely others.

Other than Days Gone, there were some titles that got me excited. Without a release date, however, that excitement was quickly squandered. It’s hard to maintain interest in a game when you have no idea when it’ll become playable. Sadly, this also includes Days Gone. Even after this game was by far the biggest focus of last year’s E3 and a crucial part of this year’s E3, no definitive date was acknowledged. Shame on you Sony!

Let’s just hope Sony learns from their mistakes and gives fans what what they want next E3.

Nintendo

Nintendo

Tyler Erickson:
While Sony didn’t do enough this year, Nintendo did exactly what they needed to do. They took a 25 minute presentation and made the most of it by showing game after game that incentivizes players to buy a Nintendo Switch. For me, it finally made me feel like my decision to buy a Switch was the right one. Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing, and simply showing the title Metroid 4 on a screen worked fans into a frenzy online. We got to see more of Rabbids + Mario, as well as a glimpse of Yoshi, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Kirby. All in all, this was a great conference, but I just can’t give them the nod over Microsoft. Nintendo did exactly what they needed to do, and they should get a ton of credit for that – but not extra credit. A solid second place showing at E3 is great for Nintendo, as in years past some of their conferences have been cringe-worthy.

Eugene Belmont:
Who else but Nintendo could make an impact like that in less than 25 minutes? No one was expecting too much from Nintendo, but we were strongly proven wrong. Minute after minute, it was a continuous cycle of fan favorites like Xenoblade Chronicles, Kirby, and Yoshi. As I predicted, they announced that they were developing a Pokemon title on the Switch but nothing else about it, which was slightly disappointing. And let’s not forget the showstopper: Metroid Prime 4. Fans have long been waiting for an announcement on the franchise, and we finally got it. The announcement only came with a title, but I hope for this release in late 2018. Nintendo ended the conference with more footage of Super Mario Odyssey, and while I want this NOW, its October release date isn’t that far away.

Nat Edson:
I’ve never been terribly invested in Nintendo stuff, so when I couldn’t watch the conference live because of work, I didn’t make a huge effort to get caught up. I’ve been told the short conference was sensational, however, with Metroid Prime 4 being the highlight. Maybe it’ll convince me to get a Switch. We’ll see.

Rami Tabari:
I tuned into this conference knowing full and well that it was going to be 25 minutes long, and I could not imagine getting anything done within that time frame. Well, I was wrong. In fact, Nintendo basically won E3, and I’ll tell you why. The point of E3 is give people a reason to buy into their products, and Nintendo gave us the biggest selection of reasons we’ve seen this whole week. The Nintendo Switch lacked games, so they brought the games. We got Kirby, Yoshi, Metroid 4, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem, Pokémon, and of course, Mario. The epic comeback of so many beloved IPs gives the Switch new life. No other conference’s games gave enough warrant to purchase the accompanying console or even the game itself. Nintendo doesn’t know how to run a company, and they surely don’t know how to make smart business decisions, but they know how to make games. In the end, that’s what E3 is all about: the games. And Nintendo presented more in 25 minutes than any other conference could do in two hours. Congrats, you finally won, Nintendo. Don’t mess it up.

Ryan DePalma:
Nintendo won the show for me. Metroid Prime 4? Kirby? Super Mario Odyssey? Yes, please! They know exactly how to make the kid in me excited for the classics once more. And while we didn’t see anything more than a title for Metroid Prime 4, everything looked phenomenal. Super Mario Odyssey especially stood out for its improvements to the classic Mario formula. I know I’m not the only one looking forward to possessing a dinosaur. Nintendo did smash my dreams for a western Monster Hunter XX, but I’ll just pick up a Japanese copy instead.

Mike Solseth:
After Monster Hunter World was confirmed for other consoles, I had high hopes that we’d see MHXX for Switch announced here. Sadly, that was not the case (just like Smash for Switch). Still, with that said, I will give credit to Nintendo for their two part attack on E3 in terms of a 25 minute direct followed by the Treehouse. I’m hyped for Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, the Mario + Rabbids tactics shooter, and especially Mario Odyssey. I also have to give kudos to Rocket League for confirming cross-platform play, and having not one, but two Metroid related titles coming soon. While I’m not that big into Metroid, I find myself rather intrigued in wanting to try out both games when they come out. It is a weird mixed bag of emotions with Nintendo, but all I know is that they have a hell of a lineup for this year.

Graham Hale:
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan and supporter of the Nintendo brand; with franchises like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, etc, it’s hard not to be. But this was probably the most surprising E3 event for me. I really had no idea how their Treehouse Event was going to go, and I wasn’t very optimistic about the whole situation. I just hoped they wouldn’t disappoint. It’s a safe bet to say that they in fact did not. Even with the launch of their newest Nintendo Switch, I was concerned that the hybrid console was gonna be lacking in future AAA titles. Nintendo did a good job of quickly dissolving that concern this E3.

With how amazing their presentation was, it’s hard to believe that their event clocked in at just under 25 minutes. Not only did Nintendo have lots of upcoming releases to show, but they almost addressed every one one of their major franchises, including the long awaited Metroid Prime 4. For me, this was their biggest surprise, and I think most people would agree. This is a franchise that fans have been wanting to see revived for a long time now; it’s been so long that most gave up hope. But that hope was restored when “Metroid Prime 4” came up on the screen. We didn’t get any kind of gameplay, but this was all that fans needed. Along with Metroid, we were given assurance that in the near future we would be getting Pokemon, Kirby, Yoshi, and other fan favorites.

One of Nintendo’s biggest issues, especially with their previous system, the Wii U, was the lack of third party support. This ultimately solidified the demise of the Wii U. But the silver lining of that cloud seems to be that Nintendo learned from their mistakes and made great strides to not have a repeat scenario. We saw this in the form of support from Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Psyonix. And with announcement of Rocket League coming to Nintendo Switch, it felt like Nintendo was making the right decisions to get people on board with buying their latest hybrid. I, for one, am happy to see that my Nintendo Switch will be supported strongly in the coming years. Thanks Nintendo!

PC Gaming Show

PC Gaming Show

Rami Tabari:
Hands down one of the best conferences, not for its games, but for its presentation. The presenter was playful but respected everyone he was interviewing, and he even poked fun at himself. The interviews were about aspects that were important to the games as opposed to being filled with arbitrary questions. It’s definitely a conference for hardcore fans of the franchises they were presenting, but even though I didn’t care for their games, I still had a great time watching.

devolver-digital-logo

Devolver Digital

Eugene Belmont:
Well then . . .

Rami Tabari:
Did anyone else watch this conference? I can’t remember if it was a dream or not. 10 out of 10 would dream again.

Ryan DePalma:
Honestly? Yes. Just yes.

Mike Solseth:
NO COMMENT!

e3 feature img

Some Final Thoughts . . .

Dan Stewart:
Overall, E3 2017 wasn’t the best year we’ve had. There were some games that caught my attention, but overall, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. Hopefully, the other events will bring some more games for this year rather than all these games that we won’t be seeing for at least 12 months or later.

Rami Tabari:
E3 . . . it’s not me, it’s definitely you. You were so lackluster that the amount of announcements that even relatively excited me, excluding Nintendo’s, could be counted on one hand.

Ryan DePalma:
Well, I got my Monster Hunter fix, just not in the flavor I wanted. But it was still extremely welcome. All in all, this E3 was underwhelming. A lot of glamour, but little actual gaming. If this E3 did anything for me, it reaffirmed my choice to build a gaming PC instead of buying a next-gen console. I’ll still get my Monster Hunter and Destiny 2, with better performance to boot!

Mike Solseth:
As I have said many times before, there is one true winner of E3: The Gamers. I feel like if I was to name a “Winner,” it can be taken out of context in one extreme or another. There were lots of games I want to get that were shown from each conference, and other games that went silent and appeared later on. It might not have been as impactful as previous E3s but I’m still just as excited as I was all those other years. This continues to be the greatest time of the year, and I can’t wait until next year!
Still, as I said, Monster Hunter World is my “Best of Show”. It sucks that MHXX is getting the shaft, but if that means we’re getting an even more grand Monster Hunter experience next year, then sign me up!

Eugene Belmont:
I need some sleep . . .

And there you have it: Our Impressions of E3 2017! It definitely has been a long week for all of us, and we are definitely looking forward to the awesome games announced. What did you think of the conferences? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and vote here for who you thought won E3!

There’s still 6 months in this year to get through, so be sure to keep visiting Xbox Culture for the latest gaming news and reviews! Also be sure to listen to Gaming Culture Radio Podcast for weekly updates!

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Written by: Eugene Belmont

A proud dad and nerd, Eugene has been playing a wide variety of video games since the late 1980’s. He is also a co-host of the Gaming Culture Radio podcast.

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