The Best and Worst from E3 2018
And like that, it’s over. This is Way Too Many Games’ second year of covering E3 but it was also our first that we personally attended: Speaking with developers, getting hands-on with many games, and collecting information and impressions for our readers.
So much work and energy goes not just into making these games and trailers, but in making each of these conferences. Just like gaming, E3 itself is changing. No longer just an expo for press and investors, but for all of us. We at WTMG thought it would be great to acknowledged the truly impressive, and maybe not so impressive, moments from E3 2018.
I think it a great moment to thank you as well. To allow us to be even a small source and outlet for you. It’s what you love, it’s what we love, and it is what these developers love. Thank you. So without further ado; here is our round up of our first of many trips.
E3’s Best Conference:
Todd: PlayStation: This is not a knock against Xbox who came out swinging in all the right ways. This is more a nod that PlayStation didn’t drop the ball at all and kept fans focused on the carrot days before E3. Ghost of Tsushima continues to be Best In Show two conferences in a row now.
Jason: Bethesda: Fallout 76 feels like a step in the wrong direction for me. So far, Bethesda’s greatest strengths have been single player experiences, and going along with the trend of always-online gaming has me a bit nervous. But I can overlook it for now. Why? Because DOOM: Eternity and Wolfenstein: Young Blood, that’s why. I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a series as much as the rebooted Wolfenstein. While it’s far from perfect, the chaotic combat feels so natural. After having a blast with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, I can’t imagine how much fun co-op Nazi hunting will be. Here’s hoping for a beautiful sixty frames per second, 4k, couch co-op game.
Jordan: Microsoft: It was clear that this E3 2018 Microsoft showed their dedication to the Xbox brand. I think they had a goal to show the naysayers that all the talk they have been doing about bolstering their first party is coming to fruition. On top of that that they had a great showing of games that branched out to just about every genre of the industry and left me with a ton of games I can’t wait to play. They had very little fluff, no technical issues, no awkward stage performances, it was just an all around solid showing.
Leo: Bethesda: Though I admit the Xbox conference was the one with the largest amount of reveals and the one with the best pace of all events, Bethesda’s conference was the one that showed the largest amount of games that cater towards my tastes. DOOM Eternal, Wolfenstein in VR, Prey in VR, Fallout 76, Fallout Shelter for Nintendo Switch (a perfect match), Rage 2, those are all games I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy. Not to mention that Skyrim sketch featuring Key. Genius!
Heidi: Microsoft: I’ll admit it was a close call between Microsoft and Bethesda, but for me Microsoft edged out as the more solid conference. Not only did they announce an impressive list of highly anticipated fan favorite games, but their partnerships with several indie developers are allowing them to release a staggering amount of games that vary greatly across all genres. Their pacing was steady and they wisely didn’t rely on weird stage performances to set them apart.
E3’s Worst Conference:
Todd: Square Enix: I really REALLY wanted to give this one to EA but after Square Enix sold Xbox the rights to show all their games first, Square’s conference just had zero impact.
Jason: Square Enix: Let’s just cut to the chase. Square Enix has become notorious for early announcements and long development periods for years now and it’s impacted their E3 reception. Kingdom Hearts III was first confirmed to be in development at E3 2013, five years ago. It’s a relief to finally have a confirmed release date, but it comes a few years too late for me to get excited. I’m looking forward to the updated Final Fantasy VII release, but its absence at E3 just makes me worry that it’s still another five years off. Not much to get amped up over.
Jordan: EA: There wasn’t much of anything good for EA this year besides Unravel Two launching at the event and another indie called Sea of Solitude coming soon. The rest was just absolutely boring and borderline cringe worthy. Instead of having an easy knock-out win by showing at least a trailer or something of Respawn’s new Star Wars game, all we got was a quick shout-out that it’s called Jedi: Fallen Order and its set between Star Wars 3&4. That’s all we got. I will say though, Anthem is looking really promising, but that couldn’t even outweigh that terrible on-stage showing of the bastardization of Command & Conquer.
Leo: EA: I can honestly summarize EA’s conference in one word: “cringe”. If it wasn’t for Unravel Two, that conference would be worthy of an F.
Heidi: EA: EA didn’t give me much to get excited over except maybe Unravel Two and Anthem. I was really hoping to see some something about the up and coming Star Wars game, but all they did was a quick mention of it in their beyond boring and awkward conference.
Best Anticipated Presentation:
Todd: Ghost of Tsushima: PlayStation redefined “non-surprise” this year. Yet Ghost of Tsushima still amazed me. And that was just a side mission? Are you kidding me?
Jason: Ghost of Tsushima: The original announcement of Ghost of Tsushima didn’t make me too interested in the game. I was happy to see a new IP in an age of reboots and sequels, but I was left feeling that we wouldn’t get more than your run-of-the-mill revenge story. But this year’s presentation brought a stunning cinematic gameplay video that really piqued my interest. Keeping in mind that the final product will most likely be a step down, we’ll just have to wait until and see how this turns out.
Jordan: Ghost of Tsushima: This was a tough category for me because there are a few games I wanted to give this category to, but all-and-all I think I was most impressed with Ghost of Tsushima. It just looks like the perfect encapsulation of the classic samurai movies. My jaw dropped at that end fight scene under the Japanese Maple Tree. The way it was swaying in the background, the way the leaves shuffled with their steps, the fire starting to build up. . . it was just beautiful. Not only that but the combat looked fun and the open world looks impressively done. Ghost of Tshushima can’t come soon enough!
Leo: Ghost of Tsushima: I’m a sucker for samurai games. Suffice to say, I was very pleased with the amount of games set during Feudal Japan presented during this E3. Ghost of Tsushima was easily the game that captivated me the most. This is the Akira Kurosawa game I’ve always wanted.
Andrew: Ghost of Tsushima: I know, we’re all saying Ghost but let’s be honest. From the moment that game was announced I’ve been dying to see gameplay. Knowing it would be at E3 was awesome, but actually seeing it in action blew me away because it met my expectations in the best of ways. The fighting and stealth all in a beautiful world and setting that’s so rarely touched is something I’m dying to dive into.
Heidi: Ghost of Tsushima: There’s been quite a bit of buzz about this game for a while now and I have to say, finally seeing it in action this E3, I completely understand why. The gameplay so far looks flawless and thrilling and I was absolutely blown away by how gorgeous it is. I can’t wait to lose myself in it when it comes out.
Todd: Resident Evil 2: I don’t know if it counts as a true surprise as it has been rumored, but that trailer and then the reveal that it was for Resident Evil 2 REmake!
Jason: DOOM: Eternal: DOOM! After the 2016 reboot, I couldn’t be more excited to go back to hell and knock the teeth out of some more demons. The sooner this hits shelves, the better.
Jordan: Battletoads: Honestly, there weren’t too many big surprises that caught me off guard this year due to certain leaks and such leading up to the event. I was going to go with Nioh 2 because I wasn’t expecting a sequel so soon and I loved the original, but I had to go with Battletoads. Rash, Zits and Pimple are finally officially back after being teased when Phil Spencer took the stage with a Battletoads t-shirt back in 2016. With 3-player couch co-op and 2.5D hand drawn art direction, I can’t wait to see the ‘Toads back in action.
Leo: Cyberpunk 2077: We knew the game existed, we knew it was bound to appear at some point, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THAT good. Between the trailer at Microsoft’s conference and the behind closed doors gameplay I saw during E3, Cyberpunk left me speechless. This is going to be a masterpiece, let me tell you that.
Andrew: Cyberpunk 2077: Cyberpunk 2077 is that game that everyone has known exists and everyone anticipates because it’s developed by CDPR, but other than some concept art we haven’t seen much about it. Until E3. There, CDPR revealed a trailer that made this look like one of the greatest upcoming games ever. The world in all its gritty and technical glory looks stunning and I know CDPR will do their best to make this a masterpiece.
Heidi: Cyberpunk 2077: We’ve known for a while that this game was in the works, but seeing the trailer for it has me already wanting it. CDPR has already proven that they know how to make exquisite games, so I can’t wait to see what this new work of art has to offer.
Todd: Crackdown 3: I actually thought about going with Death Stranding here, but the more I see it, the more it pulls me in. That and Kojima’s gonna Kojima. But can Crackdown 3 do anything to become relevant again? With them still relying on just the name and Terry Crews being the selling point, I don’t think so.
Jason: Metroid Prime 4: Last year, Nintendo announced the return of what is arguably Samus’ best series, Metroid Prime. With a new game on the way, it’s hard not to get excited to explore Chozo ruins again. But Samus missed her cue this year and we’ll have to wait longer to learn more. Looks like I don’t need to buy that Switch yet. All that said though, I’m glad that Nintendo isn’t overselling incomplete products like some others do.
Jordan: Death Stranding: I just can’t express enough how disappointed I am with this latest trailer. Not only is it the fourth trailer now, they still haven’t shown any gameplay that will be indicative of what we will see in the final game. On top of that, the trailer lacked any of the intrigue the last 3 trailers had. We essentially watched Norman Reedus deliver packages for 4 minutes and then saw him crouch around some of the ghosts we already knew about. There was a decent scene with another invisible monster and a new character, but how many times are they going to tease this invisible monster?
Leo: Death Stranding: I’m not going to say Death Stranding’s reveal was absolutely BAD, but I have to admit I’ve lost my patience with the way Kojima is teasing us with this game. Another year, another downright nonsensical reveal, this time around a gameplay trailer showcasing Norman Reedus being some sort of paranormal UPS delivery boy. You can put as many celebrities you want in your game, that won’t make this year’s trailer less boring than what it was.
Andrew: Overkill’s The Walking Dead: I’m an unapologetic sucker for zombie games/fiction. Last of Us, Days Gone, State of Decay 2, are all games I enjoyed or am looking forward to. But after watching the actual gameplay for Overkill’s game, I can’t help be feel disappointed. It’s like a Walking Dead mod for Call of Duty more than an interesting Walking Dead game. I wouldn’t say I had high hopes for this game, but I was hoping that it would at least be cool or good. Unfortunately so far it seems to be neither.
Heidi: Death Stranding: Let me start off by saying this: I love Kojima. I really want to love this game. I’ve been deeply intrigued by it for a while now, but I have to say, this latest trailer shown during E3 was a huge letdown for me. I know there will be more to the game than just being a cross country delivery boy, but Kojima didn’t give us much else to hold onto during this latest trailer. He briefly showed us some ghosts that have been teased previously and a tense moment involving an unseen foe, but that wasn’t enough to keep my spark of interest alive.
The “You’ve Convinced Me” Award:
Todd: Xbox: I know, I know! I’m the Sony guy! But Xbox did everything right this conference. They showed a commitment to gaming and gamers. They showed that developers are still backing them 100%. Plus they showed a desire to grow with the acquisition of key studios.
Jason: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: I really wanted this to be Bloodborne 2, but you won’t hear me crying foul. I have a soft spot for Yharnam and Anor Londo, but after so many years of Soulsborne, I’m thrilled to see FromSoftware expanding their horizons and introducing new mechanics like platforming with a grapple arm. Between Nioh 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Shekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and even the direction of the Westworld HBO series, I get the sense that feudal Japan is the new zombie genre.
Jordan: Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Despite really enjoying the new reboot Tomb Raider and loving Rise of the Tomb Raider, I just wasn’t feeling Shadow of the Tomb Raider when it got announced. I’m not sure if it was just fatigue from playing so much of RotTR and then Uncharted 4, but nothing about it really got me hyped. That all changed with this new E3 trailer and the gameplay section that Square Enix showed off. I love the new stealth elements for this one and the trailer had more of ‘raiding mysterious tombs’ feel that I think has taken a back seat with this reboot.
Leo: Skull and Bones: I am not a big fan of Sea of Thieves, and I wasn’t a big fan of Skull and Bones when it first got announced last year. It looked like a shallow title, a way to cash in Assassin Creed IV‘s famous ship-based combat. I wasn’t expecting it to be what Sea of Thieves was supposed to be in the first place. It is a lot deeper and more complex than just AC IV‘s naval bits in a more expensive box. For the second year in a row, a game from Ubi had won me over.
Andrew: Spider-Man PS4: A year ago at E3 2017 I listed Spider-Man PS4 as my biggest disappointment. The amount of quick time events showcased and the minimal amount of actual gameplay put me on edge. I wanted to see more combat and more swinging. But as we finally soared between the skyscrapers of my very own New York City, I can happily say that I was very impressed and am definitely looking forward to the game with much fewer reservations.
Heidi: Spider-Man PS4: I have loved Spider-Man in comic book, television, and theatrical form for many years, but let’s face it, Spider-Man has never had a great game. The swinging mechanics have always been a huge mess and very frustrating to suffer through. I thought that might just be one super hero title that never saw it’s proper glory in the gaming world. Finally seeing Spider-Man PS4 has given me new hope that the webslinger might finally get the game he deserves.
Todd: PlayStation’s Church Stage: For me it simply added an unneeded lull in the presentation, but how awkward to be in a standing room only for one trailer and then be ushered to the real showroom floor and have a 15 minute pause? Luckily the show was strong and this didn’t truly hurt them other than making it just miss being perfect.
Jason: The Presenters: It happens every year. Nerds take the stage to present their nerd projects to a crowd of nerds so we can all nerd out together, and if there’s one things nerds aren’t good at, it’s public speaking. There are so few people in the gaming industry who can capture a live audience. Between the uncomfortably forced and scripted dialogue, awkward personalities, and the ever present “what do I do with my hands?!”, E3 is always a tough watch for me. Thank God for Todd Howard.
Jordan: Command & Conquer: Rivals: What was EA thinking with this? You’re going to take one of gamings biggest real-time strategy games and make it into some watered down, money grabbing mobile game? Who green-lit this idea? Then who’s brilliant idea was it to have an onstage showing of a mobile game complete with an E-Sports announcer. . . For a MOBILE game? EA has got to be ran by some of the most daft decision makers. How’re you going to have an onstage showing of a mobile game, but not give us a trailer for Respawn’s Star Wars game?
Leo: EA: EA’s conference was so bad I feel like they deserved yet another negative “award”. As previously mentioned, it was simply a cesspool of cringe.
Andrew: The Presenters: Jason nailed it for me here. Every single E3 I watch in frustration as the presenters fail to generate the excitement they want leading up to the trailer or demo. With little excitement actually shown in their voice and very little training on how to speak in public, it’s always a strange combination of amusing and frustrating.
Heidi: EA’s Entire Conference: Jordan mentioned some of the biggest disasters in EA’s conference, but honestly I think the whole thing was abysmal. Boring, awkward, and some of the most questionable choices in gaming to date.
What were your impressions of this year’s E3? Let us know in the comments!