Last Token Gaming Highlights of E3 2015

By the Last Token Gaming Staff

Whoa, E3 was a bit of a doozy wasn’t it? All of the major announcements being made (some HUGE, some small, and some completely unexpected) had things shaken up for what looks to be considered one of the stronger conventions in recent memory. As a follow up to our predictions on E3, here’s our reactions to this year’s conference:

Marshall: Mother of GOD! Where do we begin? Where do we end? I anticipated E3 2015 would blow the lid off last year, and even then my expectations were surpassed. I don’t mean to sound like an easily suckered fanboy here….not everything shown was absolutely perfect, and there’s a good chance a number of the games unveiled and previewed won’t live up to the hype. As anyone who’s been in the gaming loop for even a short amount of time should know by now, an impeccable E3 presentation doesn’t guarantee a game will be fantastic. Hell, you could sometimes say it guarantees the opposite. (For fuck’s sake, even Aliens: Colonial Marines had a great preview that made it look like a stellar title.)

Truth be told, perhaps the best thing for me isn’t something new, but rather a blast from the past. Microsoft’s Rare Replay, which will feature 30 Rareware classics in one package for $30, is an absolute triumph. First, it’s an absolute steal price-wise, amounting to $1 a game. Second, it’s a truly definitive Rare anthology. You not only get the top-tier legends (Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, etc.), but also older efforts like Battletoads, Cobra Triangle and Solar Jetman. As someone who already owns the corpulent bulk of Rare’s esteemed N64 titles, I’d gladly buy this one, were I not opting for a PS4 as my next-gen leap later this year. (Then again, maybe an Xbox One isn’t so bad after all…..)

Next up is Fallout 4. If it were possible to lethally overdose on hype, I’d be a corpse right now. I’m glad Bethesda is willing to deemphasize cutting edge graphics in favor of superior gameplay and content. In the former department, every action will likely carry more emotional weight due to the simple (yet startling) fact that your character can talk. (Seriously, a Fallout protagonist having even simple lines of dialogue is like the gaming equivalent of “Garbo talks!”) In the latter department, well, this game is going to have so much content that even its own lead producer hasn’t seen everything it has to offer. On the Nintendo front, I’m optimistic about the reboot for Star Fox being pushed so hard rather than play second fiddle to one of their usual marquee franchises, but like Jake said below, the company’s overall presentation was pretty meager.

And this is all before getting to Street Fighter V, the Final Fantasy VII remake, Star Wars: Battlefront, Doom 4….there’s a lot to sink your teeth into. We could be in store for an amazing year in gaming, a parade of bloated disappointments, or some mix of both. But we’re finally getting the first wave of next-gen blockbusters, and I’m damn excited to jump in.

Jake: If there is one thing that I was disappointed about the E3, it wasn’t just Nintendo with a lackluster press conference, but with the higher expectation of a stellar press conference from Nintendo after Microsoft, Sony, and even Bethesda! On the other hand, aside from Star Fox Zero (by the way, awesome job on showing that the game has elements from Star Fox 2), we were hoping for a Metroid game that stars Samus and seeing more of the upcoming Legend of Zelda for the Wii U, not a Metroid game sans Samus and a brand new Zelda game (although the latter isn’t that shabby). It’s also nice to see that Nintendo is partnering up Vicarious Visions to have two Amiibos for Skylanders Supercharged, which hopefully it’ll be a start of getting third party support that Nintendo has been lacking for all of these years.

So speaking of holding press conferences, Sony manages to set the bar by breaking the internet 3 times in about an hour! The Last Guardian got me a bit giddy as I’m glad that they are committed to making this game! I’m happy for the fans who have been clamoring for FFVII remake and Shenmue 3 (with the Kickstarter that raised over 1.5x of their initial goal)! I’m honestly intrigued by Horizon: Zero Dawn! I mean wildling look-alikes battling mecha-dinosaurs, with the presentation looking very impressive, I think this made my inner child very happy! I seriously hope that the game turns out excellent! One thing about that conference that left me a bit disappointed was the No Man’s Sky demo. For a game that appeared to have a lot of promise at the first announcement of the game, they didn’t reveal much of the gameplay aside from flying around the ship and exploring the new planet. I fear that the game may not turn out so well. I want to hope that I’ll be proven wrong, but I’m having low expectations for the game.

Microsoft, oh man, they sure had some surprises in store for all kinds of gamers! Backwards compatibility, Rare Replay with a $30 pricetag, as well as showing off some sweet games that made me wish for a minute that PS4 was an inferior console! I’m really glad that two of the games will be available for Windows 10 since that’s the only Microsoft thing that I’ll own for a time being. Two things that wowed me more than anything else (aside from Last Guardian and KH3) was the Xbox elite controller and the Minecraft gameplay with the hololens. First off, that is so cool that they allowed physical altercations to the Xbox controller. I never thought that this would happen, but man, I would love to have something like that! And hololens, man, if this takes off and when more and more games start to become compatible with this VR technology, I will board on the Microsoft train in a heartbeat! In the meantime, I’ll settle for PS4.

Last but not least, there are some awesome games that I’ll looking forward to coming out on their respective release days! I’m so glad that Square Enix decided to show more of Kingdom Hearts 3. Goddamn, that is the kind of a trailer that all faithful fans have been waiting for (sans release window, what the hell man). The game looks different in a gorgeous way, and I’m stoked for the new gameplay features that be included in the game! I seriously hope that the game will turn out as awesome as the trailer that they showed at E3! Other games that I’m really looking forward to are Fallout 4, Doom, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Just Cause 3, and and For Honor, and I seriously hope that these games deliver and feed in our inner geekiness!

There will be games from this year’s E3 that will disappoint us, but from the looks of things, I seriously hope that this will be the year for games until E3 2016! Here’s to a great year of gaming!

Terry:  This year’s E3 turned out to be a vast improvement over the last few years; while it had most of the predictable fare we’ve come to expect (i.e. Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Halo 5) there were quite a few surprises thrown viewers’ way. Some were good, some great, and some people only ever thought would be a dream. This was also the strongest convention for Sony and Microsoft, to the point where I wondered who’d ‘won’ the convention? Some people say Microsoft nailed it, others say Sony definitely met and beat what Microsoft dished out. Even now, it’s still hard to say, but it proves a point that both parties upped the ante.

However, one of the things I’m most excited for was announced during the Bethesda conference the Sunday night before the Expo. No, it’s not Fallout 4, it’s Dishonered 2. Dishonored was easily one of my favorite games for it’s morality-based storytelling, fantastic stealth gameplay, and unique art style. Dishonored 2 is looking to retain that same look while also upping the resolution for the next gen. I’m curious to see what Emily’s powers are, how they work, and how everything unfolds. Oh, and I guess I’m kind of excited for Fallout 4 too also. What I did like about Fallout 4 is the direction Bethesda is taking by focusing on building a solid game over graphics. Some people may not like it, but I think it shows they’re for quality over looks.

In terms of Microsoft, their presentation was so much better than I predicted. I’m way too excited for backwards compatibility and the Rare games collection; knowing I’ll be able to play some of my extensive backlog on my Xbox One (eventually) as well as enjoy games from my childhood really made me excited. I also felt that the games Microsoft presented were more solid and consistent in terms of execution and delivery. I loved Recore, and look forward to seeing more about the game until its release date. I also can’t wait for Rise of the Tomb Raider as well since I thoroughly enjoyed the last Tomb Raider reboot. The biggest icing on the cake for Microsoft’s conference was the hololens Minecraft gameplay presentation and the elite controller. Microsoft looks to have taken some risks, and I’m glad to see it. I’m thinking it’s going to pay off.

Sony was equally consistent in their conference, but gave me more things to worry about.  The positive?  Seeing Horizon: Zero Dawn and being blown away at how interesting the game looks. Judging from the looks of the game, there’s going to be a lot of lore, a lot of big fights and a vast open world. Street Fighter V is also looking good and shaping up to be one of the better console exclusives (I’d even argue the Playstation 4 has had the best console-exclusive line up to date). Also, SHENMUE 3 was announced for Kickstarter! For so many years fans have been clamoring for the next installment in this cult-favorite classic. Oh, and seeing that Final Fantasy VII remake trailer made me shout in joy in the middle of the night in my apartment.

At the same time, there were so many questions left from Sony’s presentation. For example, how much of The Last Guardian has actually been completed? Is 2016 a viable release date to announce? The trailer they showed for this years E3 barely expanded on the 2009 E3 gameplay footage fans saw; only the upped graphics seemed like a major difference. No Man’s Sky also worried me with how little gameplay footage we saw; the promise and hype it had going for it seems to have been grounded a lot more. I’m also not sure if I should feel comfortable with having Sony run Shenmue 3’s kickstarter. On the one hand, it means that Shenmue 3 IS going to be made. At the same time, the $2 million dollar goal to make the game seems little for a PS4 game. Regardless, that didn’t keep me from feeling excited about the game.

Kingdom Hearts 3 in action was breathtaking. I’ve always loved the art style of the franchise, and seeing it in the current-gen resolution had me salivating. The new consoles look to provide an extra step in Kingdom Hearts step, and in the right direction. However, like The Last Guardian, I’m worried that the 2016 date I believe we were given isn’t going to be viable.I’m hoping with the renewed solitary focus on the game (Tetsuya Nomura, you overwork yourself dude), I’m optimistic this game is going to be great.Also, I’m way too excited for the new Deus Ex game. There’s not much to say other than I can’t wait to sink my claws into the game.

Oh, and there was the nintendo conference too but it was completely lackluster. There’s not much to say about it other than WHERE’S THE LEGEND OF ZELDA WII U?

 Sean: While I’m always leaning more toward Nintendo and Indies and other lesser seen E3 things the Sony conference had a lot of good things. Not enough to convince me to move from my PC/WiiU console choice but it is nice to see Last Guardian back from the grave, though we all know it’s gonna be really really sad in the end. Oh well Final Fantasy Remake is nice to see and some chibi thing. While I’m happy to see Shenmue 3 kickstarter campaign I’m not all that thrilled that it is just a Kickstarter campaign. I’d really like to see Shenmue one and two on PC packed with Shenmue three but eh, at least the story can finally be finished. Little weird sony just had them up to say that. Plus No Man’s Sky didn’t get as much time as I felt like it should, it’s a nice looking game.

Microsoft’s Hololens looks fun but will likely be buggy, and well backwards compatibility might be nice on Xbox One though again it isn’t moving me from my current console choice but at least they are working to make things better.

Overall I found the conferences mostly goofy this year minus some nice game announcements. However I think I was too excited for StarFox Zero to really care about anything else. Seriously I just love StarFox way too much. Very happy one of my most favorite developers Platinum Games have been working on it and they are incorporating StarFox 2 beta elements again. Well they have transforming arwings anyway but no sign of the live battlefield map like Starfox 2 beta had. The fact it is a reboot and treads old story ground has me a little worried but I am still looking forward to it.

As for others from Nintendo it was mostly old news and Amiibos which reminds me how much Nintendo needs to stop and fix a lot of their issues. Like say how Amiibos are so hard to get without fighting a crowd at the first hour of release. I’d have loved to see an announcement of Virtual Console getting a much much needed face lift as it is still pretty pricey and bare bones as far as emulators go. At least we have Yoshi’s Wooly World and amiibos! Heh well it looks fun I admit.

One bit of news I hoped to see a little more of was the SMACH Zero. Ya weird name but it is pretty much a handheld steam machine. They released some specs, hinted at a 2016 update and that was it. Well it is nothing to write home about sure but I am still anticipating the effect of Steam Machines on the gaming market and a handheld option will be a nice touch. Especially if that device has a lot of extra uses like playing on TV or using as a controller etc. Probably gonna be expensive but ya, I wanna see these things hit the market, I hope it doesn’t disappear like the Steam Boy did.
Overall not a bad E3, maybe I should be more excited but I feel like everyone is just making a steady comeback but I hope they keep this pace.

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