Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
There was quite a bit of excitement buzzing around the PC gaming community when it was believed a new installment of Age of Empires was about to make its debut at E3 2017. Unfortunately, all that hype was a bit misguided. Instead of revealing Age of Empires 4, Microsoft showed off a remaster of the original title during the PC Gaming Show. This year marks the 20th anniversary since the franchise first launched back in 1997 so fans of the games were expecting some major news to mark such a monumental milestone. Finding out that the big surprise was just going to be an upgraded version of the original game was extremely disappointing to some.
Just Dance 2018
The Just Dance series is an infamous part of E3 history. E3 attendees and those watching from home always expect to get some cringeworthy musical performance to announce the popular rhythm game that actually doesn’t teach you how to dance—so please don’t try to take your Just Dance combos out for a night on the town.
Anyway, the only thing worse than seeing world renowned pop stars like Jason Derulo hop on stage to perform in front of a largely disinterested crowd of reporters and industry professionals, is seeing far less popular performers like Automaton – Jamiroquai take the stage next to a non-Korean dance trio dancing to a K-Pop hit record just before a gangster panda joins in on the fun. It’s something you probably never thought you’d see in your life but Just Dance 2018 presentation brought it you with no shame and no remorse. By the time Bebe Rexha came to the stage we were all far too busy trying to figure out if this was still an E3 conference or a really bad acid trip.
State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 was announced at last year’s E3 so expecting a 2017 release date didn’t seem like too much to ask. Apparently, though, it is. State of Decay 2 won’t release until 2018 and that’s only the beginning of the disappointment this E3 announcement uncovered. So far State of Decay 2 looks a bit underwhelming. The graphics there were shown were a huge let down especially since Microsoft felt it was necessary to boast that the gameplay was being pulled from their new Xbox One X. The facial animations make Mass Effect: Andromeda’s look good, and the character movement overall appeared choppy and sluggish.
So….. Much…. Skyrim
In all seriousness, is there any other game that has been “announced” and “revealed” more than Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? The game initially released back in 2011, more than five years ago, and yet we are still being bombarded with Skyrim news. This year’s E3 had a shocking amount of Skyrim news. Both Skyrim VR and Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch received their very own separate announcements at E3 this year.
This “news” just seems like something far more fitting for a pre-show or just a quick mention on social media. To have entire E3 presentations dedicated to such an old game, especially when so many people have been begging for a new installment, just seems like an odd and underwhelming decision.
Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep
This announcement wasn’t just disappointing, it was downright cruel. PlayStation announces that the next block of content will be all about their upcoming VR titles. Things are mild/typical at first, but then you see Noctis and the gang appear on screen, getting you pumped for something FFXV related in VR. The trailer then shows you utilizing VR technology to go fishing in the game. It seems pretty cool because the fishing in Final Fantasy XV is actually pretty fun—it’s one of the best in-game fishing experiences we’ve seen in quite some time. You’re pumped up and ready to see what else a VR Final Fantasy game has to offer. That’s when you realize that this is it. The familiar faces from the latest Final Fantasy game are all just there to distract you from the fact that this is VR fishing. That’s all.
Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep was a major disappointment for its own reasons but the rest of the games also announced during Sony’s PlayStation VR lineup were also a bit of a let down. It seems like many VR games are struggling to feel like anything more than mini games that can hold your attention for an hour at their very best. Fingers were crossed that E3 2017 would be the moment we saw new approaches to VR that offer more complete and meaty gaming experiences. Unfortunately, all the new titles looked underwhelming, at least for now.
Moss stole the show based on how adorable its protagonist is, but it served as another reminder of why third-person VR games just don’t have that same immersive pull. Inpatient looks intriguing, but doesn’t seem like it will hold much replay value outside of its initial few scares. Bravo Team received a short trailer that promoted some spray and pray action but that’s also a concept that wears thin quickly. All of these titles could wind up being fun, but nothing we saw during the E3 presentations was mind blowing.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, unfortunately, wins the award for the most hype followed by the biggest let down. It has been about five years since we got a new Marvel Vs. Capcom game, so there was a lot of pressure being put on Infinite to bring the franchise back in the right way. Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, so far, feels like an odd step away from the heart of the franchise.
The game ditches its usual 3v3 combat in exchange for a 2v2 system that does away with character assists. Combined with the troubling animations during cut scenes, and Capcom’s usual aggressive DLC strategy, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite’s E3 showing just didn’t seem to impress the fighting game community. Instead, it opened the gates for all the Dragon Ball FighterZ comparisons to pour in. The wrath of social media can be rather unforgiving and Capcom certainly knows that after this year’s run at E3.
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
If you didn’t catch Microsoft’s press conference this year and that title has you wondering if Porsche decided to create their own game, allow me to clear the air. Microsoft dedicated a portion of their E3 press conference to unveiling a new Porsche car. Yes, an actual car. Yes, it was weird… really weird.
The reason Microsoft justified this Porsche unveiling is because the car is featured in absolute detail in Forza Motorsport 7. The idea of the gaming industry becoming so massive and popular that even a car company like Porsche sees value in handing over the first peek of their latest car to Microsoft for E3 2017 is a big deal. That doesn’t change the fact that a room packed with journalists and professionals from the video game industry are probably not there to see the reveal of a new car and the same probably went for the thousands watching from home.
Metroid Prime 4 and Pokemon Switch
Is a new Metroid Prime and a console Pokemon game exciting news? Absolutely. Were the announcements for them two of the laziest and most disappointing moments of the entire E3 conference? Again, absolutely. The only thing these announcements had going for them was the element of surprise.
While some have deemed these announcements one of the highlights of the entire E3, it’s hard to look beyond the fact that this was nothing more than motion graphic. Some sort of cinematic trailer or even a more clever way to hint at the game being in production would have left a far more impactful impression. For now, Metroid and Pokemon fans are sitting around being collectively excited about a game they literally know nothing about. Simply put, 42 seconds of “Hey, look! We’re making this thing!” just doesn’t seem like it is fit for the E3 stage.
Will they both end up being amazing? If their past history is anything to go by, probably. But it won’t make their announcements this year any less underwhelming.