E3 2013 has come to a close and I can say it was definitely an interesting show. Xbox One and Playstation 4 were front and center, however the Big N had a strong lineup for both the Wii U and 3DS. While it was full of new consoles, new games, and innovation, was there really anything you should be running out to pre-order? Find out after the jump along with over 100 pictures and all the highs and lows of this years event.
E3 has gone through plenty of changes over the past decade that I have been attending, and this year those changes may have been the most apparent. The always welcomed booth babes were almost non-existent, swag seemed to be in short supply, and the generally awesome set pieces were much more subdued. The big thing in place of swag this year was photo ops. Whether it was a reconstructed boat from Wind Waker or a green screen for Splinter Cell, there always seemed a place to have someone take your picture and instantly email it to you. While this was more of a personal way to remember your time at E3, I was slightly disappointed to not have my next year’s wardrobe already taken care of.
While swag and babes are only a small part of E3, games are what we are there to see and most people couldn’t wait to get their hands on a PS4 or Xbox One controller. Surprisingly, both were readily available to all attendees. Unfortunately, what was offered never really felt all that substantial. It was a pretty clear indication that launch, like most consoles, would have one or two worthy titles, but you would be looking at least another year for things to really get going. Both Forza for Xbox One and Driveclub for PS4 looked great, and the PS4’s Knack seemed like a must have, but most everything only felt like a small taste of things to come. If you don’t need the system at launch you may want to wait until some big titles are released or the eventual first price drop! Most developers indicated that their titles would not be ready until 2014 at the earliest.
E3 2013 was a ton of fun, but there wasn’t much that I would run home to pre-order right this second. Most of the games were way too far off, but I was glad to see some great new stuff coming soon for my Wii U and 3DS. Disney Infinity was a blast and will be available in August, and if you preorder you get a bunch of free stuff. This year was all about looking forward and while it was interesting, I think next year will be the big event of this generation of consoles. Here are my highs and lows and a ton of pictures of this years event!
The Highs (In no particular order)
Nintendo downplayed the event this year, but they didn’t sit idly by and let Sony and Microsoft steal the show. With fully playable demos of Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Zelda Wind Waker HD, and the all new 3DS The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, just to name a few, there is plenty on the horizon for Wii U and 3DS to be excited for!
Commanding most of the entrance to the South Hall and the time of what seemed like all the attendees, Disney spared no expense to pump its two new games, Disney Infinity & Fantasia: Music Evolved. Their space was always full with people waiting in line for free custom screenprinted shirts or Infinity figures. Disney Infinity is akin to Skylanders only in the sense that you have a portal device and figures, other then that, the open world game and builder functions really set it apart as what will surely be a juggernaut releasing in August. Fantasia: Music Evolved was the only game on the floor utilizing the new Xbox One Kinect and it is fantastic. From Harmonix, makers of Rock Band, this is an all new musical experience, where you are a conductor, of sorts, using the magic of music to breathe new life into drab world. It is almost impossible to explain the gameplay, but I can assure you, this is a game to keep on your radar for 2014.
This game in particular was one I was very anxious to check out. Loving both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, I couldn’t wait for the next one, that was until it was announced that Rocksteady would not be developing the game and Kevin Conroy would not be returning as the voice of the Caped Crusader. Well, after watching the extended gameplay demo, my fears were put to rest. The game looks and plays just like its predecessors and the Kevin Conroy stand-in is more than passable. A new detective mode really gives you control over the world’s greatest detective and let’s just say the demo left me with a smile on my face.
4. EA Ignite Engine
For the sports fans out there, all I can say is, hold onto your butts! EA Sports’ new Ignite Engine for the PS4 and Xbox One looked absolutely fantastic in person. This system overhaul really takes advantage of the next generation’s raw power. Unbelievably lifelike movement, and the feeling of real force and momentum, allow for a more enthralling experience. EA UFC was on display and you could almost feel every punch and kick. Fighters bodies would change in color due to damage, exhaustion, or strain. Gone are the days of predictable and repetitive attacks and injuries. The game adapts to just about any scenario, just as a real life person would. Gaming has never looked and felt so realistic.
I was a day one adopter of Sony’s new handheld and couldn’t wait to take full console gaming on the go with me. Unfortunately, that promise hasn’t been lived up to and with the meager showing this week, the outlook isn’t good. With what looked like a few late ports to the handheld, one game caught my attention, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Too bad it felt like a bastardized version of its namesake. The side scrolling beat ‘em up was tedious at best and boring at worst. It also completely crashed while I was playing (yes, I know it isn’t the finished product). I guess you have TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead to look forward to…if you haven’t already played it on every other console.
Honestly, I think Microsoft was this year’s biggest loser. What started with an extremely poor reveal of the Xbox One and their overbearing DRM through always on connectivity, was only compounded by a meager showing in their booth. With not much to show for either current or next gen, their area was surprisingly sparse, in both content and attendees. When the Xbox 360 was announced, you couldn’t move in their booth. This year, everything was pretty much readily available and nothing but Forza 5 was really all that interesting.
With the few exceptions of what was mentioned in the highs, there wasn’t a whole lot of fresh and new to look forward to. We get it… another Call of Duty! As well as so many first person shooters that they just start to run together. As much as I was hoping that the introduction of motion and touch gaming would bring brand new experiences with it, Fantasia was really the only thing that felt innovative.
I know E3 has scaled back since years prior, but come on, everyone misses the scantily clad girls in cosplay outfits and so many free shirts and tchotchkes, you need an extra suitcase just for them!
Well that’s it for E3 2013. Two new consoles debuted, but I would be cautious about pre-ordering them if you are expecting big things at launch. Nintendo showed they have a lot coming very soon for both their Wii U and 3DS. Unfortunately for Sony fans, the Playstation Vita looks dead in the water. Personally, I would definitely keep an eye on Disney Interactive. The forthcoming Disney Infinity is going to be a great game for kids, adults, and collectors, and next years Fantasia: Music Evolved is really going to be something to behold! Here are some pretty pictures to look at and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will get to them.