Well another E3 has passed and it’s unsettling to think how fast this one has come and gone. It seems not long ago I was sitting down to watch the reveal of Fallout 4, and now it’s been nearly a year since it’s release. I’m not here to talk about what was and wasn’t at E3 or what the games are like in terms of features, gameplay, story etc. That’s all already been covered by press insiders and the likes, as always I’m here to give my opinion on the last couple of days while I sip on a freshly made brew.

I always look forward to E3, the build up before the conferences can only be compared to the sleepless nights as a child on the eve of Christmas Day. I become very excited and giddy to see what the next year holds for the gaming industry as a whole. As many of you know I’m a PlayStation and Nintendo gamer at heart, but that’s not to say I don’t like to dabble in what Xbox and the other third parties are up too.

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Gears of War 4 is looking absolutely incredible, a big miss for PlayStation fans.

Xbox seemed to have a very strong conference this year, far improved to what was shown the year previous. Every year there’s always a game from their conference that I wish would be coming to PlayStation, this year it was Gears of War 4. I’ve only ever played the first two from the series and although enjoyable I’ve failed to work through the whole series, but the latest instalment looks incredible and is sure to be making a lot of GOW fans very happy.Project Scorpio was also revealed, something to get very excited about, as of now I’m a little wary about the whole concept. I’d like to see how developers will provide the better game for the newer consoles when they will always need to cater

Project Scorpio was also revealed, something to get very excited about. As of now I’m a little wary about the whole concept. I’d like to see how developers will provide the better game for the newer consoles when they will always need to cater for the lowest denominator. However, they could take the approach of a PC mentality, where the game is able to run at low, medium and high settings. Allowing Scorpio to take advantage of the high end and the original consoles run on the low end. Still no confirmation has been made although I’m very eager to hear more.

When voicing my opinion I try to avoid the negativity surrounding games and focus on the more positive aspects of the industry, but I really can’t fathom the words to describe the EA conference in a positive way. I feel like EA is kind of going through an identity crisis at the moment, in terms of where they stand or who they really appeal to. Their conference and genre of games seem too diverse in relation to the audience in a way that their showcase is never going to appeal to everyone. Once again the word on Twitter was that there was far too much talk about sports games, with FIFA and Madden taking up most of the show. I would’ve loved to have seen more of Mass Effect personally, as well as the Star Wars game from Visceral, sadly that wasn’t the case as it appears that both titles are too far away to devote any solid time to either one.

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Dishonored II’s setting is definitely remincient of the Bioshock series.

Without fail E3 always causes me to face off against my backlog of broken dreams, all those games I pictured finishing but just never got round to. In this case, it was Dishonored. As the second instalment began to unfold on stage it reminded me that I really needed to get back to the first game. The showcase of Dishonored II was glorious. Drawing me straight into that living, breathing world. The setting, atmosphere and culture of Karnaca, known as “the jewel of the south” in game, seems to absolutely thrive. It reminds me of the Bioshock series, which holds, in my opinion, the most unforgettable setting in a video game to date.

The conference I most look forward too is Sony’s. Mainly due to Nintendo not holding a traditional conference and PlayStation being my go to console ever since I was young. Last year’s conference was described as the “Year of Dreams” due to how well-received it was. They had a lot of competition this year from Microsoft and I thought that Xbox may steal this year’s event. That was until PlayStation came out firing on all cylinders, the conference kicked off with the reveal of five PlayStation exclusives off the belt, all revealed alongside a live symphony orchestra that was playing the score along to each trailer.

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God of War made it’s triumphant return and is looking as beautiful as ever.

It was great to see God of War return, many have said that it’s a little too close to the Last of Us, yet I’d disagree. Kratos, the main protagonist of the series, has never been a character that I’ve cared much about. The God of War games always had a fantastic concept in terms of reference to Greek Gods and Norse Mythology, yet Kratos was just an angry ball of fury and the games just seemed to be a tech demo for each console. However that changed with the reveal of this new title, Kratos seemed to convey more emotion in that one trailer than all three games previous. The game looked stunning and I can’t wait to see more of it and who can deny Kratos’ new epic beard.

I was also blown away by how great Horizon: Zero Dawn looked too, the animations when taking down the mechs were incredible. The fights seemed to convey the protagonist in the form of a dancing duel with the walker while using whatever she had in her arsenal to take it down. it’s so great to see the folks at Guerrilla, who’s portfolio consists of nearly nothing but the Killzone series, excelling on every level in order to create a fantastic looking game with a truly unique concept.

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In terms of sheer beauty, Horizon definitely took the show for me. The game is shaping up to be one of the best I’ve seen.

The pacing of the Sony show was total perfection and every game they revealed was something that genuinely interested or intrigued me. The surprise of the show was definitely the Crash Bandicoot remastered collection, I never thought the Bandicoot would see the light of day again, but as promised the three greatest crash titles will be remastered from the ground up. A highlight was seeing Hideo Kojima unveil his new game while uttering the words “I’m Back” with a smile beaming across his face, it was certainly a special moment for the fans. A truly magnificent way to round off another great year of games for Sony.

Last but not least was Nintendo, although they were showing the least amount of games I was fully aware that Pokemon Sun and Moon and The Legend of Zelda were the only ones being shown. It was great to see new additions to generation 7 of the Pokemon franchise, although I do feel as though more could have been shown, especially the next evolution line of the starter Pokemon.

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It was brilliant to finally get an in depth look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and what an incredible one at that. 

The Legend of Zelda was finally given its title, Breath of the Wild. I have a lot more to speak out on about the title, which will be coming in my next post, mainly to talk about my biggest gripe with the game. However, the game looks beautiful. The art style is right up my street and the general design aesthetic in terms of monsters, clothing, weapons and architecture is just stunning, going as far as to exceed Windwaker on a visual level, in my opinion.

All in all, it has been a fantastic E3, There’s so much to look forward to in the next year. Not only are all these great games coming out in the next year and onwards, but we have the reveal of the NX to look forward to along with VR and the 0.5 releases of PlayStation and Xbox. Certainly a lot to look forward too.

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31 thoughts on “E3 2016 in Retrospect

  1. Interesting reading your perspective on the conferences – I actually thought it was the reverse of what you said with Sony doing much better than last year which I felt was the disappointing of the two back then. This time around it really felt like they ended on an even keel but with different products to push.

    EA really wasted an opportunity with the Star Wars video… more teasing and less talking could have made this explode. Bethesda had a fairly easy run with their games but I was quite surprised with Ubisoft having never watched it all the way through before – such a different tone it’s a shame we don’t see more of that.

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    1. I feel like this year gripped me a lot more in terms of Sony’s press conference. Last year we saw The Last Guardian and Horizon, albeit very little. This year we got to see more of TLG and actually got a release date, as well as seeing a better look at Horizon with an extended gameplay trailer over last years conference. I wasn’t too fussed about the Hitman reveal last year either and I still hadn’t seen enough of dreams to be impressed by it. FF VII was exciting but the game is just too far off to get super hyped about, although a very longed for announcement it was. Again Uncharted 4 was a big showing but we’d already seen a lot of it and I was choosing to take a blackout on the game in order to avoid seeing anymore of it before I played it. Plus I’d never played the Shenmue series so couldn’t really get behind that.

      Everything I saw at Sony’s conference this year genuinely interested me. There wasn’t one game I didn’t care for to be honest. The pacing was superb and again we were spoilt with so many exclusive titles, in which can only be played on PlayStation.

      Yeah, if there’d been a reveal of their Visceral Games Star Wars game it’d of been amazing, it just shows how far off it is though – with them only able to show basically a 2 second clip of it. Similar with ME, I was so excited to see some gameplay of that and there was barely anything. It feels like we’ve been waiting for ever to see it.

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      1. I was hoping there may have been improvements to The Last Guardian – I know it’s just my opinion but it still looked too much like a PS3 game that arrived via the PS2. Im also one of those who doesn’t really like Naughty Dog’s games so miss them at all. The only Sony exclusive I’m really interested in is No Man’s Sky which I’m getting the PC version anyway. 😊

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  2. I too feel the pain of the growing game backlog. I got about an hour into the first Dishonored before I put it down, and neglected to get back into it. I’ll get around to it eventually, I hope. Horizon Zero Dawn really surprised me, and it seems like yet another game I want to play, but need to make time for.

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Zelda Breath of the Wild next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was exactly the amount of time I played too! Will definitely be jumping back in though. Horizon looks phenomenal, hearing from people who have seen an extended demo behind closed doors have said it looks incredible.

      Ha! It’s a little controversial. I can probably see a lot of people maybe getting upset. Hey ho, it needs to be addressed I feel. It’s written already and will be going up tomorrow at 10am GMT, so keep an eye out!

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  3. Really good analysis! EA is definitely having an identity crisis and it was really clear this year during their conference. Hopefully they can sort everything out and regroup for an awesome show next year.

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    1. Thanks. I just find that their genre of games is too diverse and you’re never going to please everyone. The vote on whether it was good or bad is always split, majority of the vote going to bad. Where as when Xbox and PlayStation showcase their games, there’s still a lot of diversity, but they appeal to a mass audience.

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  4. EA were all over the place this year. They could have had a really good show, but they messed it up. They barely showed any actual game play for anything.
    I thought all the others had good shows though and showed a lot of decent looking titles.
    I’m not a PS4 player, but I was thinking the only problem with their show was that it seems like a lot of the games shown won’t actually be out for a while? And that seemed like the same issue last year? Days Gone looked really good though, and I’ve always liked God of War.

    If I could find a cheap enough PS4 and could use my XB1 controller with it, I’d consider getting one.

    Personally I’m really happy with the PC Xb1 cross play as I have groups of friends on both and it will bring them together, plus it means I don’t have to worry about which platform I play on with some games.

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    1. I know, as soon as they showed Mass Effect I was excited and then it was over in a flash. Same with all the Star Wars content. They showed a 3 second clip of the new visceral Star Wars game. I’d hoped that would of been nearing completion, if that’s all they can show it must be way off.

      Yeah, a lot of haven’t been given a date like but I can’t see the majority of them exceeding a 2017 release date. Kojima’s game on the other hand will more than likely not release until around 2018/19.

      God of War looked fantastic and seems like a really different direction compared to the other games previous, which I’m all on board for. That was a great feature to be honest, tying those platforms together. The only thing now is that Xbox doesn’t really have any exclusives. I have a PC, PS4 and Wii U. I don’t see any need as to why I should buy an Xbox. Where as if the shoe was on the other foot and I was missing a PS4, the five exclusives shown at the start of the event, with many more in the pipeline may be enough to tempt me in. I also really liked ‘We Happy Few’ which I never mentioned above, but again I’ll probably pick it up on Steam.

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  5. Nice write-up! E3 was a lot better for me than I expected. The main conferences were pretty solid. It seems like they perfected the artform of less filler, more thriller for these things. I also thought that Nintendo had an impressive showing despite only having 1 game playable at show. They pulled through with some fun Treehouse Live streams and the awesome new Zelda game. There are many fun games on the horizon indeed!

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    1. It certainly was less filler, more thriller and it has been one of the best E3’s for a while. Enjoyable to watch. Well The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the most talked about title on social media, exceeding every other game announced. It just shows that they didn’t need a ton of titles to get people talking about their games, although I do believe the reason they showed very little was because we’re coming to the end of the WiiU and NX is on the horizon but had to remain under wraps. I can’t wait until they announce the reveal event. So looking forward to it.

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  6. I’ll preface my comments off the bat with the fact that the Xbox One is currently my main gaming platform. I love the controller and UI, despite the fact that technologically it doesn’t quite stack up performance wise to the PS4 (currently).

    I actually got quite excited at the concept of Project Scorpio and I’m glad Microsoft are looking at providing a console that supports true native 4K gaming, plus proper VR support to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and get both the Rift and the Vive working on Scorpio. I don’t think they’ll go with the “Low, Medium or High” settings but will probably just focus on resolution capabilities. Of course time will tell. I like the idea of having several consoles in the same family – all the accessories and games working across the several models of Xbox One. I wish the Xbox One S would come in black but apart from that it sounds like a good little addition.

    The new God of War looks amazing – I am really looking forward to that on the PS4.

    For me I felt Microsoft’s conference was the most enjoyable and they are finally starting to come out from Sony’s shadow this generation. I didn’t have a problem with Microsoft putting some focus on hardware, I think they needed to do this to try and keep pace with the PS4. Forza Horizon 3 has me very excited – probably my most anticipated game for this year now.

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    1. Great comment, Grocs. I too got really excited by Project Scorpio, although I’m still a little sceptical about it as well as Project NEO. I’m still eager to know more. It seems like the old 10 year console lifespans will be a thing of the past, we may even see consoles moving at the same speed mobile phones do, in terms of technology and having to renew them every couple of years for a better upgrade, but still not feeling left behind if you have an older model. Similar to how iOS works with the iPhone.

      I think it was one of the best Microsoft conferences to date, but it seems what ever they do they’re unable to catch up to Sony. Where as Project Scorpio might just be what resets the pieces on the chessboard. Plus good competition is healthy for both platforms. It only assures that each company works harder to top the competition resulting in better games and hardware for everyone!

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      1. I think that’s a great point – the competition that’s driving these changes is really going to benefit us all in the long term. That all of the platform holders have now had their share of screw ups will hopefully make them more honest too. 🙂

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  7. You are def right about Gears of War. As a PlayStation fan I might just grab the slim Xbox one just to play some gears. Gears is a great game Xbox has at this point and I don’t think PlayStation could ever replicate imo.

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      1. Yeah I wouldn’t jump into the NX without having a definite idea about it first. Surely anything can be better than Wii and Wii U though. Fingers crossed they aim this console at a hardcore audience rather than targeting families like they did with the last two home consoles.

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    1. I think this is the exact reason they’re doing the slim. People like you who aren’t mainly an Xbox player, but might want to dabble every now and then.

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      1. Yea that def sounds about right. The slim could be just for that. Grab a couple of the xbox exclusives and have some fun. I person miss playing some Halo and Gears but I wouldn’t be a hard core xbox gaming. I usually stick to my PS4 for the most part.

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  8. I agree, EA isat a lost as to how to hold a confernece, but I suppose that it is still better than Ubisoft’s “let’s embrace the madness” standpoint. It’s a shame about Microsot’s conference though; I think they get so embroiled with their hardware agenda, that they forget tthat ultimately the majority of us are hear to see some new games. Anyway, your analysis was topnotch, I enjoyed reading this article and would like to see more!

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    1. Agreed. Ubisoft was still able to show a handful of games I was interested in though. The ones I really wanted from EA were barely even mentioned. Yeah they did and ultimately that’s where Sony excelled. They showed nothing but games, they didn’t show any bullshit, no mobile games or long tech demos, nothing that would disengage you from the conference.

      Come to think of it I never took my eyes off the stream the full time, the conference flew over and every game that was shown got me interested in finding out more. The pacing was just perfect. That’s where the other conference lacked. Thanks for your comment. There’s a lot more to come along with posts from my recent trip to Japan. For more recent and immediate updates check out WhatRhinoSaid on Twitter and Instagram 🙂

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  9. Thanks for the analysis! I think Microsoft is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis as well.

    With Project Scorpio, and the slim model, it looks as though there would be different versions available in future, catering from low-to-high ends of the market. Who is this designed for? Part of the advantage of a console is you don’t have to think about settings, resolutions, technical details.

    It feels to me like Microsoft is backing away from Sony’s success this generation, and instead consolidating the Xbox brand as a PC that can do other stuff, a PC-hybrid type.

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    1. I was totally confused about why they even bothered announcing a slimmer model at the start of the conference then a different more powerful one at the end. Why anyone would then want to buy the S model after seeing that is beyond me.

      I certainly think that they will take on a more PC mentality. They also seem to be tying Windows games into the Xbox as much as possible. Xbox didn’t have one exclusive game in the whole of the conference, all of their games are also available on PC.

      Personally if I was an Xbox owner that would really disappoint me. PlayStation revealed 5 exclusives and they have many more that weren’t shown at E3, Gran Turismo, No Mans Sky for example. I’m not sure if they’re trying to reset the console war chessboard by announcing Scorpio. Obviously we don’t know how everything is going to work, the creases haven’t been ironed out and Sony has NEO too. It’s all very exciting though and I can’t wait to hear more from both parties.

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    2. Personally I think the slim is catered to people who might not be xbox players as a priority, but might want to play the odd game – chepear than a PC and cheaper than Scoprio, so isn’t as much of an investment for people. The scoprio will be for the more ‘hardcore’ fans who feel like they want to get the best out of a system visually, but aren’t PC players – ideally the XB1 should’ve been want the Scorpio is – I see the Scorpio as almost a catch up to the PS4. It did seem a little odd how they announced them both as it did come across a little like “Why announce two new consoles?”

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      1. Agreed. I think the Xbox Slim is also catering toward the mass of consumers interested in games but not interested enough to follow the news closely or write about them online. It’s a new, good looking box that will still look great to parents and people who haven’t made the jump to this console generation yet this summer and holiday season. Microsoft might also be hoping to escape some of the bad press that the original Xbox One received by giving less discerning consumers a “new” xbox. There’s also the clear fact that it’s smaller and it’ll be easier to fit next to your PS4 under your TV.

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  10. Well stated Rhino! I think EA is going through more than an Identity crisis, I think they are trying to rebrand entirely. I am looking forward to Star Wars, and even more so Mass Effect Andromeda! But I think the best game of E3 happened to be Gears 4 for MIcrosoft, Horizon Zero Dawn for Sony and (Fan Boy Voice) Skyrim Special Edition w/ mod support for Next-Gen(Heh)

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    1. You’re definitely right on the whole rebrand part. I don’t think E3 is the best place for them to showcase their games. Every year the camp is split in EA, as the sports games can be hit and miss with the audience and that ends up them being left at the bottom of the pile when it comes to pick the best conference from E3.

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