The big three at E3

So at the time of writing, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have had their big press events, and have left some interesting notions for the future of their respective consoles.

Microsoft had a lot to prove, and the consensus seems to be that they hadn’t exactly gotten people hyped for the Xbox One. There were plenty of games shown with CG trailers that, while promising cool games in the future, were only promises  — not anything substantial enough to get people to buy their console.

Still, there were some standouts. The Xbox faithful will be happy with <em>Halo: Master Chief Collection</em> to tide them over until <em>Halo 5: Guardians</em>. Remakes of Xbox Classics such as <em>Crackdown</em> and <em>Phantom Dust</em>, and a few games such as <em>Inside</em> and <em>Scalebound</em>, may prove interesting.

After years of cringe-inducing Kinect and TV heavy conferences, at the end of the day, it was welcoming to see a bigger focus of games &mdash; that was most satisfying. It was just a shame that most of the games were either shown in a pre-rendered state that shows little of what the actual game will be like or are games that are already coming out for competing systems, albeit with some exclusive DLC tacked on.

This is why the Sony conference came off as more impressive. Game after game was shown with in-game, in-engine footage that was either exclusive, or at least console-exclusive.

<em>Little Big Planet 3</em> and <em>Uncharted 4: A Thief&rsquo;s End</em> were the larger first-party offerings. I know at least one <em>Dark Souls</em> fan who was freaking out when <em>Bloodborne</em> was announced, a <em>Souls</em> successor in a more modern setting. Sony continued to show they&rsquo;re really connecting with indie developers, announcing many console-exclusive indie games, including the procedurally-generated exploration game <em>No Man&rsquo;s Sky</em>.

PlayStation Now, Sony&rsquo;s game streaming service, was announced, as was the new micro-console, PlayStation TV, which can play Vita and PlayStation Now games for just $99.

Between Microsoft and Sony, it felt like we were still waiting for the bigger games of the generation since neither conference was overly ground-breaking. As the graphics and complexity of games continue to increase, it will take longer to get this generation&rsquo;s standout games. Still, the promises of greatness are there.

My own biases came out as the Nintendo Digital Event aired. <em>Smash Bros.</em> fans around the world got a good dosage of hype, with Miis and Palutena announced as playable characters, and a full gaming tournament let <em>Smash</em> players take a look at the game properly, with a surprise reveal of Pac-Man as a playable character.

All this <em>Smash</em> news was alongside Nintendo&rsquo;s answer to <em>Skylanders</em>: <em>Amiibo</em>, Nintendo toys that you can link to Nintendo games to influence them, one way or another. One part of me calls this a mostly pointless addition to games that really don&rsquo;t need another gimmick, and yet, I can see myself buying every single one.

We finally got a look at the new <em>Zelda</em> for Wii U, and damn it looks cool. An artistic style that reminds of a mix of <em>Skyward Sword</em> and <em>Flower</em>, a promise of grand exploration, and a transforming magic arrow being fired by (a possibly female?) Link made this long-time <em>Zelda </em>fan hyped.

Rounding off their showing were games such as the adorable <em>Yoshi&rsquo;s Wooly World</em>, the interesting ink-based shooter <em>Splatoon</em>, and even a tease of the next <em>Star Fox</em>. Overall, a good showing from Nintendo, I can personally say that the number of people asking whether they should get a Wii U has increased dramatically.

While not affiliated with any specific console, all manner of interesting shooters showed up this year. The exploration heavy <em>Far Cry 4</em>, the more futuristic <em>Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</em>, and <em>Borderlands</em>-meets-<em>Halo Destiny</em> are offering more interesting ways to shoot your fellow man than ever before.

The future hasn&rsquo;t quite arrived, but the consoles are irrevocably here, so brace yourselfs. The Wii U is middling with sales, but with Mario Kart 8 selling very well and this latest deluge of games, there are hopes for a comeback. Microsoft may not have had the greatest showing, but their focus on games is encouraging, and after a price drop,&nbsp; Xbox One sales have been picking up and will keep rising due to the price reduction.

PlayStation holds steady as a good first year for a next-gen console. Now we need to see what games really make this newest generation worth investing in.


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