Grading the E3 2018 conferences.

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E3 2018 came and went. There were a lot of very interesting big-budget games and smaller projects between the three console makers and their second and third-party developers/publishers. I don’t know if I can say it was as good as certain years, but besides maybe two conferences, I saw a lot to like from each of them. Instead of doing a list of my favorite games shown off, I’m going to do a quick opinion on each of the major conferences. The only one I’m not going to count or talk about is the PC Gamer conference. I just couldn’t bother with them this year. Now then, let’s get started!

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EA’s Conference: I mean, I’ll have more to say in a list I’m making, but what was the point of them getting their own conference? I get they probably had to do it for the sports games, but they did an awful lot of “we are working on stuff, but we aren’t going to show it.” You can tell the annoyance with the company, because when they revealed that Battlefield V was going to have a battle royale mode, the loudest noises heard were annoyed groans. Even when they promised not to pull any stunts like they did with Star Wars Battlefront 2, there was no real clapping, besides the strategically placed employees in the audience. Now, they did show off two games I can’t wait to personally check out, Unravel 2, which was made available on that day, and a new indie game called Sea of Solitude. However, I would also say there were downsides to this, because they weren’t coming to all consoles, which is mind-boggling, because the two games shown would be perfect for the Nintendo Switch. Overall, it was just really boring and pointless. They could have easily shown their games off in the major three console maker conferences.

Grade: F

Favorite Games Shown: Unravel 2 and Sea of Solitude.

Devolver Digital’s Conference: Devolver Digital had one of the biggest moments of last year’s E3, when they decided to pretty much take one giant snarky dump on the industry and E3 as a whole. It was hilarious, and caught everyone off-guard. This year’s conference was still very funny and amusing, but it felt lacking in a couple of ways. They didn’t have the surprise or the shock that made the first one such a showstopper, and while I did laugh, I felt like their edgy attitude is going to tire out in the next couple of years. It’s going to be tough to keep doing this type of gag, and we will have to see if they actually decide to keep taking large dumps on the industry, or decide to actually function like a conference, and show off more than three games.

Grade: C+

Favorite Games Shown: Metal Wolf Chaos and My Friend Pedro.

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Bethesda’s Conference: I really only mildly enjoyed this one. While it had way more interesting offerings than EA, they also relied too heavily on talking instead of showing. I did enjoy some of the announcements, like their mobile projects, The Elder Scrolls Legends and Elder Scrolls Blades are going to come to consoles, a sequel to 2016’s Doom, Fallout 76 being an online multi-player experience, a new IP called Starfield, and The Elder Scrolls VI. I wish they could have maybe made an announcement that Fallout 76 could be cross-platform, but I know Sony is being a real jerk in that situation. Still, I enjoyed the small bits that I saw, and it was better than last year’s conference, but they could have easily shown off all of their stuff on the other conferences.

Grade: C+

Favorite Games Shown: Fallout 76, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, and Doom Eternal.

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Microsoft’s Conference: I’m always a bit more critical with the three major console maker conferences, because they not only need to sell games, but sell me, as a potential customer, their console. At first, I felt mixed on the overall conference. On one hand, they showed off plenty of firstparty, third-party, and indie titles coming to the console. On the other hand, I’m fairly concerned about their recent purchase of studios like Ninja Theory, and their over-reliance on Forza, Halo, and Gears of War. I always wish they could go back to the days of the very original Xbox and the first half of the Xbox 360 lifespan, where they had so much more variety. I then thought about some of these more, and I might have just been mad at them for starting to feel like the big third-party game industry side when that’s not 100% true. I still liked a lot of the games shown, and unless Sony decides to drop their grip on cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4, I might have to get an Xbox One S for Fallout 76 to play with my friend.

Grade: A

Favorite Games Shown: Tunic, Devil May Cry 5, Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition, Shadows Die Twice, Cyberpunk 2077, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Crackdown 3, and Metro Exodus.

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Square Enix’s Conference: This almost got the same grade as EA, because they were fairly pointless as well, with announcements or games that were either shown off already, or had very little to actually show off. I can’t wait for Kingdom Hearts III to be out, so I don’t have to see another E3, where I see the same trailer three times in a row. Still, what Square Enix did better than EA was to be interesting, and keep the conference short. Babylon Falls looks really promising, and it’s from Platinum Games, I like seeing Nier Automata coming to the Xbox One, Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks fun, Dragon Quest XI looks amazing as usual, Octopath Traveler has me really excited, and The Quiet Man looked really interesting. It just felt like these could have been shown off at the Sony or Microsoft conference.

Grade: B-

Favorite Games Shown: Dragon Quest XI, Kingdom Hearts III, Octopath Traveler, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Quiet Man, and Babylon Falls

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Ubisoft’s Conference: This one was hit-and-miss for me, because of Ubisoft’s recent ventures into live-services, bad PC ports, and with their massive focus on open-world games, I’m concerned about games like Beyond Good and Evil 2. On the other hand, I found quite a few games I’m looking forward to. Like I said, Beyond Good and Evil 2 looks great, even with the concerns, Starlink looks like a fun flight combat game, Skull and Bones looks like a promising multi-player experience, and the DLC for Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks awesome. Plus, they convinced me to get the Starlink starter bundle for the Switch, so I can play as Fox McCloud from Star Fox. Even Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, while probably going to have what a lot of people hated about Assassin’s Creed: Origins, had some gameplay elements I liked. It had its flaws, but was still amusing to watch.

Grade: B+

Favorite Games Shown: Beyond Good and Evil 2, Starlink, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle DLC, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

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PlayStation Conference: This one was also weird. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t as good as previous years. It felt poorly paced, with it starting in this church building, but then, moving everyone into another building hurt its flow, and the fact that they weren’t planning to wow us at E3 anymore was disappointing. Still, with all that said, The Last of Us Part 2 looks good as usual, Ghost of Tsuhima is probably the game I’m looking forward to the most that stars a samurai, and seeing Remedy Entertainment’s newest game, Control on a Sony platform was surprising. The Resident Evil 2 remake looks scary, Trover Saves the Universe looks silly as can be, Death Stranding finally gets some gameplay, and I still have no idea what kind of game it is, and Spider-Man was swinging around with some fast-paced action gameplay. The games themselves were pretty stellar, but I wish the conference was better executed.

Grade: A

Favorite Games Shown: The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Control, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Trover Saves the Universe, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man.

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Nintendo’s Conference: I saw a lot of people dumping on this one, because it didn’t have certain games like Animal Crossing and Metroid Prime 4. Well, what were you expecting? Nintendo is only going to tease and show what is going to happen this year, along with maybe a few teases for stuff coming next year. Don’t judge these conferences, because of what you didn’t get. That’s incredibly immature to hate on it because you didn’t get your precious Animal Crossing game. Could they have shown off a few more games instead of focusing the entire back half on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Yeah, sure, but at least they were showing off games with gameplay, unlike Bethesda and EA. I got excited for a lot of their announcements, like Daemon x Machina, Overcooked 2, the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, Fortnite coming to the Switch is a big flipping deal and a super smart move, Super Mario Party looked really entertaining, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks jam-packed, Fire Emblem: Three Houses looks like a tactical RPG I want to play, and some of their indie games coming or are already available, like Killer Queen Black and Hollow Knight were the cherry on this sundae. Like I said, they could have added maybe one more game, or mention they are working on something, but can’t show off a lot, but I enjoyed it.

Grade: A

Favorite Games Shown: Daemon x Machina, Overcooked 2, Killer Queen Black, Super Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Fortnite, Pixark, and Ninjala.

Even after all this, this isn’t even counting the indie games that are being shown off, SEGA’s release of Valkyria Chronicles 4, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, and Team Sonic Racing. Sony’s Days Gone, Namco Bandai’s Jump Force and Twin Mirror, Nintendo’s Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Mario Tennis Aces, and so much more. It feels good to be a gamer again.