On the one hand, it was an exciting E3 - production values have reached a level where they're on a par with Hollywood movies, and the big franchises do indeed feel like the blockiest of busters.
Unfortunately, it must be said that the industry still lacks a certain star quality - that splash of Hollywood glamour, that you're simply not going to get from watching the brand director of Mojang and Microsoft's amusingly-named Saxs Persson fanny around with a Hololens helmet. All these decades in, and the stale bouquet of nerdery still lingers at the crevices of gaming.
THE INNOVATION GAME
True innovation seems in short supply though. In terms of new properties declared at E3, Media Molecule's PS4 title Dreams seems so baffling in its teaser video that it at least threatens to be unlike anything else. Microsoft's ReCore - from the team behind Metroid Prime - also promises a 'new type of game'. Albeit one that looks - from initial glances - like slightly too many other sci-fi offerings.
Beyond that, really original big budget IPs were thin on the ground. There's UbiSoft's For Honor - Dynasty Warriors (sort of) but with knights, vikings, and samurai; Horizon Zero - which looks like a post-apocalyptic Far Cry with cavemen and robots (sort of); and The Last Guardian, which is a follow-up (sort of) to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
And then it's all sequels or remakes - RareReplay, a new version of Final Fantasy VII, Gears 4, Halo 5, Dishonored 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, Shenmue 3, Doom 4, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Star Wars Battlefront, Uncharted 4, and Rise of the Tomb Raider continuing to ape Uncharted - which in itself stole from Tomb Raider, which had taken its original cue from Indiana Jones.
Though certain to be a fruity sort of relish, even Nintendo's Star Fox Zero looked like a startling throwback to the series' much loved origins.
In terms of the console giants, Microsoft seems to be getting its act together at last, and listening to what its punters have been clamouring for.
The crowd-pleasers included a renewed focus on games, no mention of the ghastly embarrassment that was the Kinect, tentative wowing of the audience with Hololens and Minecraft, backwards compatibility from the Xbox One to the 360, and an absurdly expensive ($150!) new Xbox One controller that's modular and reprogrammable and that.
Sony, by comparison, made do with announcing the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter - a wholly bizarre thing for a massive multinational corporation to do, frankly - and the Final Fantasy VII remake. Most of the games in its presentation were either third-party releases, or lacked a firm release date. Although if No Man's Sky can deliver on its promises, it could yet be the game to beat this year.
Nintendo, typically, continues to frustrate and delight in equal measure, stubbornly insisting on doing everything its own baffling way, and relying on existing characters and brands.
However, it was hard to resent the cuteness of its E3 digital presentation (basically, it kicked off with a peculiar puppet show featuring slightly creepy Muppet versions of Shigeru Miyamoto, CEO Satoru Iwata, and Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé). Maybe next year we'll hear a bit more about its next-next-gen console plans.
Yeah, so. There you go. E3, then. There might still be some surprises to come, but in terms of the big news... that's your lot. I could whinge - frankly, I can always find something to whinge about - but it's a good time to be a gamer. Or it will be next year, when most of the games mentioned above actually come out, for pity's sake.
Sorry. Old habits die hard.
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