E3 2015 Grades for the Big 3 of Gaming
The gaming world has recovered from another explosive E3, and is now trying to figure out which reveals stood out from the pack, especially the games and hardware announced from the Big 3 of Gaming: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Nintendo once again opted to more or less withhold itself from a major E3 press event, which in my opinion has hurt its showing yet again, but both MS and Sony gave impressive presentations that kicked off the buzz felt throughout the entire E3 week.
We’ve already provided our Top 10 E3 2015 Moments, as well as our Top 5 Moments from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, so now it’s time to give final grades to the Big 3 for their E3 efforts. Head on down below to find out which company took the top grade, as well as which one finished last. Feel free to chime in with your own grades using the comment section towards the bottom of the post.
In typical fashion Microsoft kicked off E3’s press conference day first at the Galen Center on USC’s campus, and while the tech company decked out attendees in glowing necklaces, the plethora of game, software, and hardware announcements made a strong case for Microsoft’s offerings in 2015. Sony may have revealed more fanboy-centric titles that generated much more buzz at its show, but most of MS’s reveals are actually coming out this year, which is nice for Xbox One owners.
Microsoft’s top reveals centered around the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility with Xbox One functionality, Gears 4 and the Ultimate Edition remake, Halo 5 campaign gameplay, Rare Replay, the Xbox One Elite controller, ReCore, Tomb Raider, and of course the highly impressive Minecraft with Hololens demo. The latter is easily the coolest thing I saw at E3 2015, and after experiencing Hololens for myself, it’s hard not to describe it as the most radical technology I’ve ever used in gaming, or other entertainment mediums for that matter.
The backwards compatibility reveal is also a huge move on MS’s part, especially when you consider that it doesn’t require a fee like the PS Now service. The final library of backwards compatibility titles will determine the awesomeness of this new Xbox One feature, but as it stands the model is solid, so all we can hope is that the catalogue backs it up.
In terms of game reveals I wouldn’t say MS had any that took gamers by complete surprise, as most were leaked prior to the press event, but it was still great to see Halo 5 campaign gameplay for the first time, and of course a new Gears game is great for any fan of the franchise. It would have been cool to see actual Tomb Raider gameplay, but unfortunately it was just a sizzle reel of mostly scripted moments from the game. On the other hand the ReCore cinematic was just enough to get gamers excited about this Xbox One exclusive, which was probably the only surprise game reveal shown during MS’s E3 press event.
Finally, MS also announced a new piece of hardware for the Xbox One with the Elite Controller, which is the most complex console video game controller I’ve ever seen. This gave MS a nice balance of console software, games, and hardware reveals, providing for an all around great E3. The Hololens Minecraft demo coupled with my hands-on time with it during the Halo 5 Warzone show floor demo, easily made it my most impressive thing seen at E3 2015, which does play into Microsoft’s final grade of an A-.
Final Grade: A-
Sony’s press conference closed the first day of E3, which is always dedicated to pressers, and as usual the crowd was well lubed up and fed heartily before the festivities began. Although, based on the Holy Trinity of nostalgic games they announced, I don’t think it’d matter if everyone in the audience was shit faced or not to elicit the type of cheers games like The Last Guardian, FF VII Remake, and Shenmue III received.
I was in attendance and definitely felt the electricity in the arena, and I too had the hair stand on the back of my neck during the FF VII teaser trailer. As a fanboy of the game it was my favorite reveal from Sony, and while it will probably be a multiplatform release, one would think the PS4 will get some sort of exclusive content, which is why Sony was chosen to be the messenger for this reveal, which in the minds of fans has been 5-10 years in the making.
In addition to the nostalgic reveals mentioned above, Sony also revealed some brand new IP from Guerrilla Games in the form of Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is easily my most intriguing new game reveal from all of E3 2015. I love the world it is set in, the lead character, and the potential that its narrative can have. It’s always great to see new IP, especially from AAA devs, which these days tend to just churn out sequel after sequel, so here’s to hoping Horizon is as special as its initial reveal.
One of Sony’s most impressive moves during E3 2015 may not even be a new game reveal, or the fact that it’s getting No Man’s Sky and Street Fighter V, two games not slated for the competition at this time, but for the fact that it stole the exclusive “content first” deal from MS in regards to its deal with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. I thought MS would maintain this deal with Activision for life, but someone at Sony thought otherwise and obviously offered up the right amount of cash to steal this partnership right out from under Microsoft’s nose.
Sony’s final E3 grade is slightly affected by the fact that most of its awesome game reveals aren’t slated for a 2015 release, in fact, some don’t even have vague release windows, but even with that being said Sony still flexed its muscles at E3 2015 hard, and appeared to have the PS4 serve as the console of choice for show floor demos, which is impressive in and of itself. With that being said Sony has also earned an A-. It really is the first year where I felt Sony and Microsoft offered equal E3 showings, so while fanboys on each side may disagree with the tie, it’s really hard to say either one trumped the other this year.
Final Grade: A-
Nintendo curiously continues to more or less ignore E3. It still has a large show floor presence that gets a ton of foot traffic, but the fact that it doesn’t do a live press event leads to its E3 not feeling as exciting and forward thinking as the shows put on by Microsoft and Sony. I’m sorry, the whole puppet show Nintendo Direct was silly and lame, making Nintendo feel even more like a company that only targets young kids and those who have a strong sense of nostalgia for the golden years of Nintendo when it owned the home console market with the NES and SNES.
With that being said, Nintendo still managed to make a few exciting reveals during E3 2015. The most surprising has to be the Star Fox Zero reveal, which definitely came in under the Pre-E3 radar, at least for me, so it did genuinely feel like a surprise. It’s innovative controls seem to make good use of the Wii U’s gamepad, which has more or less been ignored by all development studios that don’t start with the word Nintendo.
The co-op centric Triforce Heroes also looks radical, especially because it is styled after the charming A Link Between Worlds, but also for its three player gameplay that promotes team oriented gameplay to take down each of the game’s dungeons. Yoshi’s Wooly World is art in motion and appears to have great platforming controls, while Super Mario Maker has the potential to create new game developers, while also giving older Nintendo fans the ability to return to the game that started it all way back in 1985 thanks to the editor’s SMB visual influences.
For me personally, the coolest thing I saw from Nintendo during E3 2015 is the new line of Amiibos, namely the 8-bit Marios, Yarn Yoshi, and R.O.B.. I’m not an Amiibo collector whatsoever, and I don’t own a single one of them yet, but this boycott will change once these three Amiibos release, hopefully sometime this fall.
Due in part to Nintendo’s lackluster online only E3 press event, which didn’t manage to really get anyone excited for Nintendo’s 2015’s offerings, the oldest video game maker didn’t fare too well in terms of its final grade. We didn’t get to see anything about the new Zelda game, and first party titles in general are lacking with none really on the horizon for 2015. It just feels like these days Nintendo has given up trying to earn new fans and only caters to its core fanbase, which has led to a lack of third party support, and poor Wii U console sales, so now more than ever it feels like the company should open up its library for new platforms, or at least give up on making consoles that don’t live in the handheld space, which Nintendo still easily dominates. For these reasons Nintendo earns an average grade of a C for its E3 2015 showings.
Final Grade: C
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