The greatest (videogame) show on earth starts tomorrow, and as usual, the internet rumor mill has been doing some major overtime. I’ve seen some interesting ones, but I take ’em all with a big grain of salt until the press conferences conclude and the show floor opens. We can’t help it, though. It’s like waiting for a package from your favorite online retailer: sometimes the anticipation of it outweighs its actual arrival.
This is oftentimes true with E3 as well. Much like last year’s Nintendo press conference, I went in hoping for greatness, and instead felt like they kicked me square in the nuts. Microsoft left me equally tepid. Sony’s was by the numbers, but they delivered the goods. Sure, they too have had some missteps along the way, but honestly, who hasn’t?
2014 is the kind of year I love, though, because these are all about the games. Companies don’t have to spend time hyping up their new systems, and instead can focus on what really matters: content. Mario Kart 8 is proving that the Wii U might still have some fight left.
Microsoft‘s recent decision to drop the Kinect from the Xbox One was a bold move. It’s a move that early adopters are probably angry about, but for people like me, who were never sold on its technology on the 360 to begin with — and balked at its steep $500 price tag — I think this is great.
I hope this change for the Xbox One lets developers focus on traditional game experiences instead of gimmicks. As cool as games like Child of Eden and the Dance Central series were on the 360 with Kinect, making it an integral part of a console just never made that much sense to me, especially in the multiplatform-heavy world of today. However, with that being said, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft addresses this new future while not turning their backs on early supporters.
The 360 is currently my least-used system, while my PS3, Wii U, PC, Vita, and 3DS get about equal attention. I have yet to see a reason to get an Xbox One, but I hope E3 helps sway me. Exclusives are where Microsoft has traditionally hurt in the past, so hopefully there will be signs that things will be changing in the year ahead.
Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive looks like it could be one of those signs; something that’s pretty unique in a sea of serious shooters.
Update: Ori and the Blind Forest also looks like it could be great!
I expect Sony‘s offerings to be solid. Like the Xbox One, there just aren’t enough games on it to warrant a purchase from me yet, but that won’t be true for long. I’m sure they’ll spend a lot of time talking up their numbers and whatnot, but I also expect a strong showing on the software side.
I’m most interested in seeing the next chapter of the Uncharted series for the PS4. I wasn’t overly thrilled with Uncharted 3, but its predecessors are among my favorite PS3 games.
Oddly enough, I’m pretty much over The Last Guardian. I adore both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, but I’ve simply stopped caring about the perpetually delayed follow-up from Sony. I’ll care again someday, but not today.
I also hope that there is some decent Vita content. For all the attention the Wii U gets as a dying platform, Sony’s handheld isn’t exactly setting the world on fire either.
Not much more for me to say regarding Sony. They’ve been an old reliable on the console front since the inception of E3.
Nintendo, however, like Microsoft, has to knock one out of the park this week. 3DS content for 2014 is light, and despite Mario Kart 8‘s terrific performance, they have to back it up with more high-quality games. They’ve really been pushing Super Smash Bros. 4, but to be honest, I’ve never been much of an Smash Bros. fan, so I’m not all that excited about that one.
I’m definitely looking forward to their Wii U offerings. I’m hopeful that we’ll see a new Zelda, Metroid, and possibly another Mario. The greedy side of me hopes it’s Super Mario Galaxy 3.
Dragon Quest VII is probably the one 3DS game I’m most excited about. No, it’s not going to spark skyrocketing sales or anything, but it’s the one game in the series I believe deserves a second chance. I loved it when I played it for the first time a few years ago, but it’s really rough around the edges. The 3DS remake, which has been out in Japan since February of 2013, is long overdue for a release here.
I don’t expect much in the third-party realm for the Wii U, but I’m hoping for a good turnout on the 3DS.
This update is intentionally light. I don’t want to speculate too much about the show and then have to eat crow afterwards. My show wrap-up will follow either at the end of this week or early next.
Enjoy E3 2014 everyone!