This years E3 was a convention of major announcements. Sony had announced a reboot of the most successful action franchise ever released, Microsoft has announced two brand new consoles (Remember when Sega did this?) and Nintendo, adamant as ever, is sticking to form and going along their own path when it comes to giving what their fan bases want. Given that the hot topic this year is more about hardware than software, it was a refreshing turn to see the majority of the shows focused on new consoles, hardware, peripherals and other odds and ends. Lets take a look at what really stole the show from the top three players in the industry.
Microsoft decided to play a massive role in the convention by announcing two console systems. The Xbox One S will be a much needed upgrade to the powerful but plodding Xbox One. Available in August and will start at $299. Much more than a miniaturized version of the Xbox One. It will sport a 2TB hard drive, the ability to display at 4K and a re-designed controller with customization options. Though it seems redundant to announce an upgrade to the Xbox One when Microsoft’s new console (Project Scorpio) was also announced at their E3 show.
Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s response to Sony’s lightly-mentioned new console release, seems to be the console that solves all of the qualms their fans had with the Xbox One. Sporting 4K graphics, VR capability, 2 teraflops of power and innate cross-platform game play with Windows 10 games, the console looks to be an answer to the overall dominance Sony has on the console industry currently. The biggest feature is how Microsoft wishes to incorporate cross-platform game play as a standard feature.
In a refreshingly surprising and exciting showing by Nintendo, they managed to assert themselves as the most innovative player in the console gaming market by announcing the next installment of their long-running Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild. Nintendo aims to adopt elements of other popular RPG games to bring the series up to code with the other heavy-hitters that are dominating then genre. The game now allows Link to pick up various pieces of equipment as opposed to limiting himself to whatever a dungeon boss provides upon it’s death. Equipment can be broken from overuse and he can also ear more robust suits of armor.
The combat still maintains the fluidity of the other 3D entries in the series, but now allows you to incorporate your surroundings to aid you. Link has also adopted the skills of a hunter/gatherer, placing an emphasis on survival in this game. The main eye-opener of this title is it’s incredible size, the scale of which seems to almost dwarf most games that seem to go on forever until you find an invisible barrier. Though Nintendo is trailing in last place, this title has certainly revitalized interest in the faltering brand.
Triggering a collective cheer and roar of euphoria, Sony had announced that the God of War series is still alive and kicking, but will be rebooted so that long-time fans and new players are treated to a fresh experience that furthers the deep lore that is now surrounding the stellar action series. Taking a break from the Ancient Greece setting, this new title is now centered around Nordic religion and settings, giving you the feeling that your new journey with Kratos may eave you fighting with Odin and other Norse gods.
Though Kratos seems to have taken on a less angry role than what was featured in the previous titles, he is still as bad-ass as ever. Instead of tearing through legions of soldiers and demon spawn, Kratos is now pitted against massive forms of wildlife and Eurocentric monsters such as trolls and wyrms. The game play has also changed, forgoing the combo and skill point system in favor of a traditional experienced-based progression system. Though the previous installments played wonderfully with the tried-and-true combo system, it is refreshing to see that the game has a new way to reward players for their skill.
The only thing that left people wanting more from E3 was that the majority of the huge announcements are years off from seeing fruition. Sony has always gone big, announcing projects that usually dragon on by years before we see them. Nintendo, as usual, is taking it;’s sweet time. Microsoft seems to be in a bit of desperation, as announcing two consoles at the same time is a serious financial error. Regardless of the case, we have a lot to look forward to for the next few years.