Our Round-Up of E3 2018

Posted by Dave 14 JUNE 2018
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Just like Christmas*, E3 2018 has now come and gone in a flash, leaving us all feeling slightly bloated from overindulgence in a good thing. We’ve had all of our big announcements and sizzling showreels for another year, which will have left some of us very happy while others would rather exchange what they got for a pool table or arcade machine instead.

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo was something of a mixed bag. There were no huge unexpected announcements, not many brand new games, no new hardware (though there were hints), and even some absences: Rocksteady, developer of the Batman: Arkham Asylum games, and Rockstar, who make GTA and Red Dead Redemption, for example. On the other hand, we saw a lot of great games in more detail than we’d previously had, and a few smaller surprises to keep us going.

Because summing up everything that happened would take almost as long it took to happen, I’ve put together a few of my own personal awards for the developers, publishers and games we saw in action. These are purely my take on the show, and do not reflect the views of Home Leisure Direct, gamers as a whole, or possibly even anyone else on the planet.


Most Comprehensive Presentation: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

We knew it was coming. Nintendo had already announced that Smash Bros. would not only be shown off at E3 but that it would be playable. We just weren’t prepared for the level of detail they would go into in their presentation.

It could be argued that the rest of Nintendo’s showcase was underwhelming: the new Fire Emblem isn’t out until next year, there was no sign of the next proper Pokémon game (just a few scant details on Lets Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee), and not even a mention of Metroid Prime 4. But for fans of Smash Bros., there was a trailer for the huge range of characters included - which includes a couple of new ones - details of stages, items, and the opportunity to watch the creator himself, Masahiro Sakurai, play and talk us through some of the detail.

We got a full title for the game, a release date and pretty much all the information we could expect on the game. Pretty satisfying.

If Metroid isn’t at E3 next year, I’m going to cry.



Most Unsurprising Surprise Announcement: Fortnite on Switch

If you haven’t been keeping your ear to the ground you might have missed this one, but it had already been leaked that popular online shooter Fortnite is coming to the Switch. In fact, it’s already available; it made its way to the Nintendo eShop shortly after being announced.

This is a great announcement: Fortnite is supremely popular, and now it’s on another very popular console, and it’s free. It just would have been nice not to know about it beforehand. Someone at Nintendo or Epic Games is probably going to be picking up their P45 over this one.



Most Brutal Demo: The Last of Us: Part 2

I had high hopes for this post-apocalyptic sequel, and it didn’t disappoint. The trailer and gameplay footage showed off the fantastic and visceral action we’d expect from The Last of Us, as well as some of the story around the characters that gives them actual motivation for their actions (something which doesn’t seem to trouble many game writers).

If you thought the trailer might be censored to protect sensitive souls, however, you would have been in for a rude awakening. Ellie is shown off stabbing enemies, shooting them in the face, running and hiding only to ambush people with a bow and arrow, and getting thrown through a pane of glass. I hope no-one let their children watch this.

Some people also saw fit to complain about seeing footage of two girls kissing, while all the blood and violence was fine. Hopefully those people will catch up with the rest of us in the 21st century before too long.



Best Shark-Based Game: Maneater

There haven’t been enough shark games in history; I wrote about Jaws Unleashed in my blog post a while back about The Worst Movie-Based Games Ever, but aside from that there are very few. Maneater makes me happy by looking like it might be the best shark-based game to date, though in all honesty I can’t say I’m familiar with them all.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Maneater’s gameplay looks to involve swimming around various locations eating beachgoers, scuba divers, crocodiles and more, which evokes something of a cross between Ecco the Dolphin and Carmageddon. Your shark even improves its skills as you progress through the game; I imagine stats such as “Toothiness” and “Fin Size” will be important.

We don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll wager there’s a keen contingent of PC gamers waiting for something as fun and as daft-looking as this. 



Most Overdue New IP: Starfield

Bethesda, creators of games you might have heard of such as Skyrim and Fallout, have announced their first brand new intellectual property (IP) in 25 years, with Starfield.

We really don’t know much about this one yet - it’s a space RPG, which isn’t very far along in development (Bethesda are still concentrating on the underwhelming-looking Fallout 76), and all we have is a teaser trailer. For many gamers this is enough to get excited, however, as any RPG from Bethesda is bound to be huge, coherent, exciting and full of bugs that get patched out after launch.

It’s also coming sooner than the sequel to Skyrim, so you might as well get excited about this one rather than start waiting for Elder Scrolls VI.



Biggest Disappointment: Command and Conquer: Rivals

This is a tough category. There are always disappointments for gamers who are expecting big things, and with most of the big presentations seemingly geared around not surprising anyone, it was hard to choose a winner.

We didn’t see Metroid, or Final Fantasy VII Remake, or Shenmue, or anything from Rocksteady, or Splinter Cell, or any news on the new Star Wars game that was announced. There were a lot of predictable announcements, especially from EA: a new FIFA and a new Madden (no surprises there), and we didn’t get release dates for lots of the games we would have wanted - Cyberpunk 2077 looks great, but could still be coming in the year 2077 for all we know.

Command and Conquer: Rivals, however, was a big kick in the teeth for a lot of old-school gamers. A fondly-remembered strategy game, Command and Conquer entertained fans for many years before EA took it out behind the barn and shot it. Hearing the name gave many people hope  that the franchise was coming back to its old glory… but instead, it’s a competitive mobile game, which will almost certainly be packed with microtransactions and timers and all of those other things that make me inordinately angry.

Damn you, EA.



Best British Import: Forza Horizon 4

Microsoft’s answer to the Gran Turismo series, Forza, is coming to Britain! For people in other countries this probably seems like a great move: navigating winding country roads, drifting around hairpin bends, negotiating fascinating city routes through tight cobbled streets, and taking in views of Stonehenge as you roar past at 120mph.

For the Brits reading this, most are probably envisioning getting stuck behind a tractor in a country lane, waiting at temporary traffic lights at deserted roadworks, and trying not to hit a cyclist that keeps weaving into your lane and then runs a red light.

Still, Forza Horizon 4 does look tremendously impressive, and as long as it’s not too realistic, should be a lot of fun.



Most Boring Presentation: Square Enix

I’ll start off by giving this the caveat that if you like Kingdom Hearts 3, Square Enix’s showreel probably wasn’t too bad. For the rest of the gaming world who were expecting to be overwhelmed by new RPG content and action games, however, it was fairly underwhelming and had only brief diversions into whelming.

We were hoping for news on the Final Fantasy VII Remake, but instead we got a short demo of the new Tomb Raider in which Lara sneaks around killing people, plus the promise of her raiding some tombs. No surprises there. It would have been nice to see something of Square Enix’s Marvel-related projects (Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy), but we got announcements of games called Babylon’s Fall and The Quiet Man, neither of which we learned anything meaningful about. We didn’t even get anything on Life Is Strange 2; just a short video on the side episode they’re releasing entitled The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.

Square Enix have been away from E3 for a while now, and this was supposed to be their glorious return. They should have come back with all guns blazing, but instead it was mediocre at best, with Kingdom Hearts 3 taking most of the glory.

All of the Kingdom Hearts fans aren’t even reading this, as they’re too busy jumping up and down with joy that they finally got a release date, so at least E3 wasn’t a total waste of time for Square Enix.



Biggest Controversy: Cross-Platform Fortnite

Sony doesn’t like to play nicely with the other console manufacturers. It’s been reported that games like Rocket League could happily connect Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Switch gamers together in single games if Sony would allow it, but they won’t. No-one, therefore, was expecting Fortnite to have cross-platform play between Sony’s console and anything else.

However, new Switch players who have previously played Fortnite on the PlayStation 4 are now finding that access to their accounts is restricted, and are being forced to create new accounts and lose all of their progress. For those who have spent dozens or even hundreds of hours in the game, this is a bit of a kick in the teeth.




That’s not a message to make any gamer happy.

Sony has responded in a typically vague manner, saying that they’re interested in hearing feedback from players. The number of angry tweets they’re currently receiving suggests that they’re going to hear a lot of feedback whether they like it or not.


So, E3 is all over for another year. Did you get what you wanted? Has the show made you excited for another 12 months of gaming, or do you think there should have been more? Is this a new golden age of video games, or are you going to sell your consoles and start buying board games? Let me know! You can get in touch with me through the comments below, via Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or by emailing [email protected].

Written By: Dave Morgan


*other festive holidays are available

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