Features & News

Team Talk: Looking back at E3 2014

June 24, 2014, Author: Andy Buick

Gamer Christmas is over for another year, and while it didn’t have the bombast of last year’s PS4 versus Xbox One rout, there was still enough at this year’s E3 to get excited about.

So what were the TIMJ team’s highlights? Read on…

Matt Parker – News Editor
The best of E3, for me, was Nintendo’s… coverage?

I loved the way they approached the show. Streaming their conference directly to us makes sense in this day and age and it’s funny that a company notorious for being stuck in the stone-age is ahead when it comes to how they deliver their E3 content. As someone that writes for a gaming website, I should be upset that they cut-out the middle-man (us), but as a gamer it just makes so much sense for me to watch the Nintendo Direct stream and then watch their ‘TreeHouse’ stuff too. It was well worth watching as tons of stuff got announced. A new game from the people that did Advanced Wars? Yes please!

So you may have been aware of the new Zelda game and all that jazz, but if you’re even slightly interested in what Nintendo’s up to, you need to get over to their YouTube channel and check out all of the other stuff they did too.

Jonn Blanchard – Staff Writer
My favourite moment of E3 is definitely the Robot Chicken-style intro to Nintendo’s reel, but in terms of games it’s split between Sony’s announcement of Grim Fandango on the Vita (which finally pushed me into buying one), Sunset Overdrive and Rainbow Six.

Grim Fandango is one of my all-time favourite graphical adventures and was the epitome of the art when it was originally released back in ’98. Its wit and style were bold enough to last for generations so I can’t wait to play it again.

Sunset Overdrive looks like a heavenly blend of two of my favourite games, Jet Set Radio and Smash TV. The action looks manic and challenging.

It’s been a long wait for Rainbow Six but it looks like Ubi have kept the uniquely paced style that differentiates it from the other FPS games out there.

Andy Corrigan – Editor
I have a tie for my favourite highlight of this year’s E3, between Mortal Kombat X and Ubisoft’s obviously staged multiplayer demo for Rainbow Six: The Siege. I’m a fighting game fan, so the former is pretty self-explanatory, but in the case of the latter, I love a good tactical shooter and I’ve been worried about Rainbow Six’s fortunes since Ubi turned Ghost Recon into a dumb – albeit still high quality – shooter. Gladly, it looks like they’re keeping it tactical, so right on!

Elsewhere, Nintendo impressed me most of the ‘big three’, but amidst the news of brand new Starfox, Kirby and Yoshi, the three things that stand out for me are: The stunning footage of Zelda Wii U (that landscape shot is now my new desktop wallpaper), Bayonetta 2 generously coming with a free copy of the first Bayonetta, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker becoming its own thing. I do have to wonder, however, if the announcement of Mario Maker will simply yield endless remakes of LittleBigPlanet’s opening level, all made in delightful irony.

Lastly, Sony pretty much had the show I was expecting, which I think was pretty solid if unspectacular. Unfortunately, despite everyone being convinced that Microsoft was going to hit us with umpteen hard-hitting exclusives, once again they underwhelmed. The only announcement of theirs that made me even consider owning an Xbox One at some point was the Master Chief Collection; a gathering of games spanning last-gen and beyond. Pretty telling if you ask me.

Josue Cordona – Staff Writer
I was very happy to see Microsoft cut all the fluff out of their presentation and simply go from game to game. I loved that Sony was able to offer a brand new game (Entwined), the Battlefield: Hardline beta, and the Destiny Alpha for PS4 players, as it made me feel like I could take part in E3 more than ever before. Nintendo took it a step further in the US by providing opportunities to try out Smash Bros. on Wii U in stores as well as having the Smash Bros. invitational live-streamed.

As far as announcements and reveal go, the Halo: Master Chief Collection exceeded all of my expectations, I was most surprised by Rainbow Six (finally!), the open-world Zelda reveal blew my mind, and I came away wanting to play every single Nintendo game shown.

Overall, I really enjoyed that there was more coverage from the show floor than ever before, so I was able to watch lengthy demos and interviews for every game I was interested in.

James Sheppard – Sub-Editor
Whilst this year’s E3 wasn’t full of too many surprises, it was one of the most solid and consistent we’ve seen in a long time. Props go to Microsoft for a reversal of last year’s disaster with a non-stop barrage of quality games, but the most entertaining for me was Nintendo. It perfectly captured the whimsy and fun that’s at the heart of the company, while completely discarding the casual audience that they soared on the wings of during last-gen, but have long since been abandoned by.

They know now that it’s the long-time fans, the gaming enthusiasts, which will prevent the Wii U from being an irrevocable disaster for its entire life. People like me for example, with a gaming PC, a PS4 and a heap of other consoles, yet who still turns to Nintendo as an ancillary console for the unique gaming goodness I can’t get anywhere else. They delivered Zelda, Smash Bros, Hyrule Warriors, Captain Toad, Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Woolly World and more, all wrapped up in a zany bow.

Big respect to them also for not abandoning the Gamepad, the console’s main USP, in contrast to Microsoft who have steadily reversed almost everything they initially stood for – admittedly, for the best in most cases – resulting in a console that has almost complete parity and very little to differentiate itself from the PS4. The announcement of amiibos even brought something new to the table to help justify the oft-maligned controller.

Andy Buick – Staff Writer
I think the most pleasing aspect of this year’s E3 was that we saw a great showing from all of the big three, along with some great looking games from Ubisoft (as always it seems these days). Microsoft in particular had a real turnaround after the debacle that has been the past 14 months, and while we didn’t see much of Crackdown, there’s plenty to be excited by there, as well as with a couple of the indie games on show such as Ori and the Blind Forest, and Inside (the latter being a timed exclusive).

It’s good to see LittleBigPlanet heading to PS4, although the real highlight from Sony’s conference had to be No Man’s Sky. That four guys can create something so ambitious, not to mention beautiful, is astounding. I just hope there’s some substance to the game beneath the genius tech. The surprise announcement of Grim Fandango was a huge highlight for me too, as someone who sadly missed it the first time round. The lack of showing for the Vita was a real concern for me, as someone who has supported it from the start.

Nintendo continue to bait me with more and more great looking exclusives on the Wii U as well. The Zelda reveal in particular was excellent, and leaves me in little doubt that a Wii U will be replacing my PS3 at some point in the not too distant future.

The final game I want to mention is Far Cry 4. I was a huge fan of 3’s open world, and didn’t put it down until I’d done pretty much everything there was to be done, so I’m very much excited for number 4. All that’s been revealed so far is backing that excitement up.