E3 has always been an exciting time for me. For a whole week, my passion for games is shared in a very public way, and I am always anxious to see what new titles are announced and what sequels will surprise us all from their secretive developers. In recent years, however, the conference, and I, have changed. With the main press conferences being held the weekend before the main floor event, and the week dedicated to further extrapolating on those conferences, I have found myself anticipating how the show will go, and only focusing on the titles I already know I will want to play.
At heart, I am an Xbox fan boy, and look forward to that conference above all the others. This year in particular, I was anxious to see just what Project Scorpio would be, and if I would be inclined to pick one up. Having just built a new gaming PC, I was apprehensive about the need for an upgrade. My day-one Xbox One is still running smoothly, despite the need for an external hard drive and the occasional hard restart. I had a first-generation Xbox 360, and still do, and despite having to endure a few Red Rings, as well as such purchases as a larger hard drive and wireless adapter. I never felt the need to upgrade to an Xbox 360 Elite. I was content with the old girl, and she carried me all the way to the current generation. Now, here we have the Xbox One X. All the rumors over prices and specifications turned into reality as we saw the device, and I must say, I am impressed. Perhaps what pushed me was the support of all the Xbox One games I already own, as well as 4K upgrades for some of them, or the optimized games, such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and Assassin’s Creed: Origins, that I will also be able to play on my new PC thanks to Play Anywhere if someone else wants to use the TV.
As excited as I am for those sequels, as well as Crackdown 3 and Metro: Exodus, the sheer number of sequels makes me hungry for new IPs. That is why I love the ID@Xbox spotlight, and Microsoft’s support for indie developers. I have been wanting to play Cuphead since the game was first announced three E3s ago. Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most beautiful games I have played, and Will of the Wisps has me very excited for a return to the series. The Last Night also looks like a cool cyberpunk noir, and Tacoma looks to be a great sci-fi thriller. However, the biggest surprise, and highlight of the show for me, was Life is Strange: Before the Storm. I was late to the party, having only recently played the series, and that first season is one of the most emotionally moving experiences I have had in any medium. I was already excited for the sequel, but a prequel is a welcome addition, to say the least. Needless to say, (and I am sure my bias will surprise you) Xbox won the show for me. Now, I just have to wait for the Xbox One X to come in stock on Amazon.
Other honorable mentions are here for me as well. As disappointed as I have been with Ubisoft for their stance on narrative, Origins looks great. I am so happy Ubisoft is finally making another game with Black Flag‘s excellent naval combat too. I was also excited to see Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, as my friends and I have been enjoying playing AoE II HD even after all these years. Having expansions for Dishonored 2, Tyranny, and XCOM 2 be announced, some of my favorite games of last year, was also exciting. I am so happy that Nintendo has decided to make Metroid Prime 4 as well, another series I have been enjoying in retrospect.
I must say, however, in closing, that I am disappointed in Anthem. I love BioWare, and wear that love on my sleeve, but I fear the rich story and character I look to them for will be lost in trying to appeal to a different audience. I will not deny that the demo looks gorgeous, and I am sure the gameplay will be fun. Nevertheless, I feel that if this title is the reason why Mass Effect: Andromeda (which is by no means bad) fell below expectations, then that is not a worthy trade.
Overall, however, I felt this was a strong show. I look forward to some of games, and am also excited that so many different games are coming out for consoles and PC. Whatever system we play on, we should all hope for the success of the industry, and revel in the adventures to come in the year ahead.