E3 2016 in Retrospect

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.


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.


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.


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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My Top 10 Games of E3 2015

It was over in a blink of an eye it seemed and E3 is now behind us for another year, I wanted to take a look back at what my personal favourites of the show were. It all kicked off with a tremendous bang as Bethesda revealed the games behind the curtain of their first showcase.

I literally never slept a wink afterwards, staying up to watch the live on twitch and Youtube. I was blown away by the Fallout 4 reveal, it’s safe to say that Fallout was the game I was looking forward to most before the event, as most of you may have guessed already. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reveal like it! Announcement after announcement, revealing all of those amazing features that would take place in the upcoming title. It was incredible!

Going into the rest of the week it seemed the majority of the companies had learnt a lot from last years conferences. Sports games weren’t the highlight this time round, VR was barely mentioned when looking at all conferences combined and there was very little filler in between, especially from Sony; who’s press conference just featured heavy hitters one after the other – they really did come out swinging. Xbox also had a really solid press conference and it was probably the best they’ve had in years, in my opinion.

It was great to see the return of the Nintendo championships. I thought it was a fantastic way for Nintendo to not only provide some thrilling entertainment, in the form of some old fashioned competitive gameplay, but it was also a brilliant way for them to showcase their previous classics and upcoming titles, especially Super Mario Maker.

E3 2015 certainly was a one for games, no doubt. Especially compared to last years Expo, there was barely any mention of the phrase ‘media centre’. After the conferences had ended I thought to myself “hmm, it seemed a little average this year” that was until I sat down to create this post, realising just how hard it was to compose a list of my ten favourite games of the show.

It’s literally took me a week, chopping and changing my mind, reading into these upcoming titles so I could develop a further understanding for them. As hard as it was I was finally able to separate them into a list, ranking them in order, number one being my game of the show.

Now don’t get me wrong, all these games are so close to number one I easily could have listed them all joint top, but that wouldn’t have been much fun. It was so hard to decide what would feature in my list as the contenders this year have been phenomenal, so without further ado, here’s MY personal top ten of E3 2015.


#10 DOOM

DOOM was a game that was never on my radar, I’ve played the first one when I went through a phase of revisiting old classics, but this latest instalment has come along way since its predecessors. The game just looked outright fun and seemed a right blast from what we were shown. I thought the introduction to SnapMap, the map/level creation system, was a brilliant addition, making it even easier for fans of the series to create their own maps and what looked to be game modes. It’s assured to be a hit with fans of the series, I can’t wait to see what the community brings to the table in that aspect of the game.

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#9  Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Although the demo started with a few hiccups (Drake must have froze once he saw the Sony crowd) the game just looked stunning, what else would you expect from a Naughty Dog game? Although many people may greatly compare the Uncharted series with that of The Last of Us in terms of gameplay, both couldn’t be further apart in terms of storytelling and atmosphere.

The Uncharted series always managed to make you crack a smile with its humorous cast and over the top, fast paced action as opposed to its counter part, The Last of Us, which tells a more darker tale. I can’t wait to see the potential of this next instalment and if your new to PlayStation I strongly advise picking up the Uncharted collection, coming later this year, before you dive into U4. The game’s looking fantastic and just had to feature in my list.


#8  The Last Guardian

Ahh, The Last Guardian, a game who’s demo has not only graced this generation with its presence, but also last gen too. I remember seeing this way back at E3 2009, I was blown away, finally a new IP from Team ICO, the studio who brought us Shadow of the Colossus, it was just what I had been waiting for.. but I didn’t expect I’d be waiting nearly a decade for it though.

Since its showing at E3 2009, The last guardian has been through 8 years of development hell, as the game was being worked on since 2007, so it was with great surprise that it made it’s return, back and better than ever, on PS4.

Troubles aside though the game looks stunning and seems like it may take us on an even more emotional journey than Shadow of the Colossus did. I’m curious to see more of this game and was surprised that it wasn’t coming this autumn, instead we’ll not see this until 2016. Let’s up that it stays on track this time.


#7 Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division returned with a pre-scripted gameplay video showcasing the sheer gluttony and greed you may come across when playing against your fellow team mates, especially from players who aren’t willing to share their Black Friday deals as the grim, isolated holiday season approaches.

The reason The Division doesn’t feature higher up my list is because I’m still curious to see how they handle the survival element of the game. It seems all we’ve seen is a lot of pre-scripted events and nothing that gets into the true grit of what the game is all about. From what I’ve seen so far it still takes the number seven spot with ease.


#6 No Man’s Sky

It was a shame that we only got to see a very brief video of No Man’s Sky, again showing us a lot of what we’ve already seen. The game is HUGE! I really don’t understand how Hello Games are able to pull off such an ambitious project. Sean Murray, again, seemed very apprehensive to define what the game is as a whole.

Although this frustrates a lot of people, I ‘m not to worried about it at the minute, just look at Minecraft, no one had a clue what that was when it first released, or what you done in the game for that matter and look how that turned out.

I’m very intrigued though and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully that becomes a reality at EGX 2015. I’m not fussed about knowing every little detail about the game before it releases and I wrote an article detailing that further; which can be read here. I have a lot of faith in the team but would certainly like to see a release date soon.


#5 Horizon Zero Dawn

I was extremely pleased to see Guerrilla Games’ new IP – Horizon Zero Dawn. From the company that brought us the PlayStation Exclusive Killzone series, they now take on a completely different game. Horizon Zero Dawn is a combination of modern, futuristic, dinosaur like mechs battling against an ancient civilisation whom harness technology from these gigantic machines. The game is essentially a highly tactical open world game that will feature RPG elements.

It was hands down my favourite of Sony’s show. I can’t wait to delve deeper into this title, plus it’ll be great to see how Guerrilla Games handle their first open world game, or at least a game that isn’t part of the Killzone series. It’s certainly a one to keep an eye on and one that’ll only be available on PlayStation 4.


#4 Cuphead

This game was probably my favourite surprise of the show, this wasn’t the first time the game had been announced but somehow I’d managed to miss it whenever it had been previously mentioned. Cuphead is basically a classic run and gun action game that focuses heavily on boss battles. As soon as I saw the game I instantly fell in love with the visual art style, which draws great inspiration from 1930’s cartoons.

Once I investigated into this further I found out that the visuals and audio are all painstakingly created using the same techniques of that era, i.e. traditional cel animations, all hand drawn and hand inked, water colour backgrounds and original jazz recordings featured throughout, The Studio really has seemed to go the whole nine yards when creating Cuphead and Mugman.

If you saw screenshots form this game in the 1930’s I don’t think you’d bat an eye lid, it looks as though it has been plucked straight out of that decade. I was devastated that it wasn’t coming to PlayStation 4, as the game takes the deserved fourth spot in my list. Thankfully this will be available on Steam and also for you lucky Xbox One players.


#3 Firewatch

It was great to see more light shed on this upcoming game from Campo Santo. If you’ve never heard of it then I suggest you read a post I put up back in January when I first caught a glimpse of what Firewatch was all about. It truly is visually stunning, the art style is beautiful – which is always going to be the case when it involves Olly Moss. The story is so intriguing and compelling and everytime I see the game I’m just left wanting more.

I wrote in my last article that I was going radio silent until the game released. I didn’t want to hear anything more of it or have anything spoilt until I was able to play it for myself, I was already sold on the concept months ago but to hear that the game was finally coming to PS4! Man, I literally jumped with joy.

I was all for getting it on PC but I much prefer my console over my Desktop, mainly due to sitting at a Mac all day as part of my day job, it’s nice to just come in and crash on the Couch. Now being able to do that while playing Firewatch will be even sweeter. I’m sure It’ll be a fantastic addition to the PS4 library and will be a day one purchase for me, without a doubt.


#2 Star Wars: Battlefront

Although EA Games had a shocking press conference, in my opinion it was somewhat saved by the Battlefront gameplay trailer we finally got to see towards the end. I had high expectations and it’s safe to say I wasn’t let down.

The gameplay was beautiful but what blew me away the most was just the sheer sense of scale – looking at the rebels scurrying through the trenches while the AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s rained laser fire down upon them, that historic sound, the chaotic gunfights and then finally that epic dual between Luke and his father, Darth Vader.. It was brilliant.

I was so worried that the gameplay just wouldn’t live up to the sheer beauty of the reveal trailer, which I’ve watched countless times times now. That just wasn’t the case and it’s such a relief to say that. I can’t wait to see what else is in store come mid November.


#1 Fallout 4

Now this game needs no introduction. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game reveal as mind blowing as this one. From start to finish it was just one thing after the other. Reveal, after reveal, after reveal. I couldn’t believe how much we were shown. Being able to customise your own base and shacks and eventually turning them into your very own settlements was an absolute highlight for me. I’ve always wanted a game of Fallout’s caliber that offers a feature like this, but never thought this would be the one to do it.

The fact that survival and scavenging is going to mean so much more in this game, especially compared to previous games in the series, it makes me drool just thinking about it. Todd Howard is an absolute god and I for one could have kissed the man that night. Fallout Shelter was a great addition for the time being, more to come on that one later though. But Fallout 4 hands down won the show for me, November is going to be one hell of a month. Guess I can say goodbye to anything but my PS4 once the fall comes round. If you want to read more on what I thought about the Fallout 4 showcase follow this link.

There were so many games that didn’t make my Top 10 that looked fantastic – For Honor, Super Mario Maker, Just Cause 3, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, KH3, FFVII and many more. It was so hard to choose what deserved a place in the list above and what didn’t. Hopefully the majority of these will be playable at EGX 2015, which I for one cannot wait for. I’d love to hear what your Top 10 of the show were, so comment below and let me know!

/ CR

E3 is Coming

It’s that time of year again, what feels like Christmas for us gamers. The anticipation builds up as we eagerly await to see what all contenders have in store for us. The console wars flare up once again and fanboys rear their ugly heads. Thousands of those involved in the industry flock to the event from all parts of the globe, as if to make somewhat of a gaming pilgrimage, only letting the most elite through it’s doors, while the general public huddle around computers and TV’s, sat in the ambient glow of their screens. Many of us living overseas from the event become nocturnal creatures for the week just to catch the latest news as it happens. Just for one week of the year. E3 is coming.

As every year begins, E3 is the one event I mark down in my calendar each time. It’s an event I just get so giddy about. I really am like a kid at Christmas, apart from this holiday lasts three to four days as opposed to just one day. Each year I make sure I take the week of E3 off work, and this is the first year I have a blog in place and can give you my impressions of the event first hand. Thankfully my week’s holiday has been approved and I have already organised to watch a few of the events with my brother – meaning pizza, booze and a boatload of hopes and predictions lies in store.

Getting to try out some of the newest and latest games, weeks or months before anyone else would be a fantastic experience.

This E3 really is shaping up to be one of the best there’s ever been, for me personally. With so many great games already announced I can’t wait to see what else is in store. I wouldn’t call myself a fan boy, but I really did love seeing Sony wipe the floor with Microsoft at last years event, considering they’d been getting it in the neck from Xbox for the last few years, previously. I’m always one to welcome competition between all parties, if all are fighting to win our attention then each need to improve to keep that. I’d love to see Nintendo blow both out of the water, although I can’t really see that happening, seeing as though they’ve mentioned NX won’t be shown or talked about.

I’ve already been spoilt with games I’ve been waiting on for years. Fallout 4 is probably my most eagerly anticipated at the moment with Star Wars: Battlefront and Metal Gear Solid V sharing that top spot – I’d be happy with just those alone to be honest. Knowing there’s a lot more to be unveiled, especially unheard of projects, leaves me feeling elated even before the event has began.

Crowds of people gather to play the latest games from all of the biggest companies (and some of the smallest) in the industry.

Of course I’m looking forward to Sony’s conference the most, but apart from that Bethesda is the one I’m most excited for. I think everyone knew that Fallout 4 was a given as soon as they revealed they were having a press conference. It’ll also be great to see how DOOM is shaping up and I think we’re sure to see another instalment of Dishonoured. A brand new IP from Bethesda would be fantastic too and as much as I’d like to see a new Elder Scrolls game to follow up Skyrim, I really don’t think we’ll be that lucky.

There’s tons of other unannounced games I’d like to see made, such as Modnation Racers 2 for the PS4. I sunk so many hours into the first game and currently still stand in the top three of the leaderboards, worldwide, for Mod creations. Check out CreativeRhino on that game if you’d like to see some of my custom made creations. 

Sony and Microsoft finally seem to be stepping away from last gen, which couldn’t be a better step to take in my eyes. It’s time we allowed developers to harness the potential of the new machines, rather than being held back by the previous ones.  It’ll be great to finally see what next gen is made of, as these consoles are over two years into their life span now and games only get better on a technical level as the life of the console progresses.

It is a dream of mine to one day attend E3. With only those that are involved in the industry being granted access this may be a harder task than normal. But hopefully one day that dream will become a reality for me.

But for the sake of us all, I hope all platforms concentrate mostly on the games they have on offer. I don’t want to hear anything about media centres or streaming services, I didn’t buy a games console to watch TV. I’m happy to hear about VR projects but god forbid they exceed the twenty minute mark. Music platforms can be kept to a minimum, again I don’t use my console as a spotify hub.

All I want to see and hear is the stuff that matters most – Video Games. This is the reason so many of us tune in every year. I want to be left in awe from what the future of games has to offer, not the latest films added to Netflix.

I want my mind to be blown and to go into the next E3 with an even bigger grin on my face. So let the commotion of the next week commence as we await the first conference, as our frenzy of excitement fails to sustain itself. But going into this weekend, remember  #E3isComing.

/ CR