I won’t pretend to be a games journalist. It’s not what I do. However, after having a chance to walk the show floor of E3 2014, I’ve found that this is a good year to be a gamer.
Between the Microsoft press briefing, Sony’s presentation, and my time on the show floor, I came away impressed by the Big 3 (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo). I don’t quite understand being a fanboy of one particular platform, when there was so much good coming out of multiple places.
For example, I was sold on the Playstation TV device. As someone who had played PS1, PS2, and PSP games, the idea that I could play those again on a box that fit in my hand was intriguing. It only cost $99 and could go anywhere. My issue, however, was that it uses PS Vita memory cards, which — right now — are highly expensive. If I could use SD cards I’d be on that device in a heartbeat.
Another Playstation game I loved was Far Cry 4. Driveclub was cool, but I think I’ll stick with games like Forza.
Mortal Kombat X (regardless of system) is going to be another game that’ll probably break sales records. I got to see this at the Playstation booth, and was totally impressed. The backgrounds are interactive, the characters are memorable, the fatalities are f**king brutal! It also had the sense of speed, and flow, that Killer Instinct has on Xbox One. Definitely looking forward to this one.
Nintendo, for its part, had a great game called Splatoon. Standing in line for that game was worth it. Despite the fact that I hadn’t played a Nintendo game in a while, this one was easy to pick up, play, and enjoy. I’m going to read up more about this game, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
With Xbox, I quickly warmed up to Sunset Overdrive. It was the first game I tried, on the floor, and it was one that I was impressed by. It had a sense of humor, knew it was a video game, was slightly (ok, crazy) over the top and was fun. However, I could easily see this game falling into the Titanfall trap — that is to say, how do you keep a game like that interesting over time, especially with the type of attention spans that gamers have nowadays?
Forza Horizon 2 is everything I wanted in a sequel. The weather effects were fantastic and it was cool that part of the racing directly takes you through fields (where normally you’d end up there because you can’t fricking drive). I loved the first one, and the second one is a definite must buy for me. It also helps, a bit, that music is one of the central focuses of the game.
Speaking of music, I finally got to see how Fantasia, from Harmonix, operates. With this game, you do more hand gestures to the best (giving you the impression you are the Sorcerer’s Apprentice). It’s quite the departure from Dance Central, but it looks like it’ll do well when it hits this year. Lord knows that the Kinect needs games that’ll showcase what it can really do. Dance Central: Spotlight meanwhile is what you expect from Dance Central, and I overheard one of the demonstrators say that they’re working hard to allow at least some of your past Dance Central tracks to move over to Spotlight, which would be a welcomed thing.
In the non-games realm, Xbox demonstrated their Achievements app, which will allow you to snap achievements to the side. You’ll get to keep track of them in real-time, and scour the web (when needed) for help on accomplishing a particular achievement. It was an impressive app and I’m sure achievement hounds will use the hell out of that app.
So how about some bullet points, quick takes on other things I saw at the show:
- The Halo: Master Chief collection is an impressive set for only $60
- Little Big Planet is adorable fun
- Indie games prove that you don’t always need flashy graphics to tell a story and be entertaining
- Overcharge drink (from Sunset Overdrive) is tasty
- Whatever EA Sports does to make the FIFA games the way they are, they need to keep doing that
- It’s a tricky thing to make fitness an entertaining aspect to a console. Very. Tricky.
Overall, E3 was a showcase of new technologies and games that will make being a gamer great from Fall 2014 on. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all have reasons to be proud of their showings this year. It was a rare year in which I wished I had more consoles in my house. I’m still going to keep that Playstation TV in the back of my mind.
If you’re a gamer, buckle your seat belt. It’s going to be a wild fun ride.