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E3 2017 - Spider-Man, Crash Bandicoot and pirates highlight this year’s press conferences

June 13, 2017 Updated: June 13, 2017 at 8:59 am
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photo - The Xbox One X is small but mighty.
The Xbox One X is small but mighty.  

The E3 show floor opens Tuesday so Monday was the third and final day for game developers to hold their press conferences. If you’re a hardcore gamer, chances are you’ve been able to keep up with many of the big announcements online, so I’ll save you from a press conference recap. Instead, I’ll go over what I believe are the highs and lows of each presser, and share a little information on what I’ve been up to in LA. 

EA
Highs: “Star Wars: Battlefront II” looks great. The single player campaign has promise and being able to play on maps from every Star Wars generation is a nice touch. Even better is that all post release add-ons will be free. Also exciting was seeing new IPs. Bioware’s “Anthem” (or as I like to call it, “Iron Man in Space”) and co-op title “A Way Out” look like they could be great new additions to the EA roster.

Lows: EA spent a lot of time on sports and almost a third of their presser showing “Battlefront II” multiplayer, which was sleep inducing. While I’m glad that, “NBA Live 18” is including a street ball portion and “Madden 18” is getting a story mode, more time on the single player “Battlefront II” campaign would have been much more interesting. 

Xbox
Highs: The Xbox One X is going to be the most powerful console you can buy. I still don’t know what a teraflop is, but this bad boy is impressive. If you want the best gaming console on the market, the Xbox One X is the way to go. Microsoft also showed off a ton of titles, over 40, so their focus was clearly on games. Best of all, long awaited Xbox exclusives like “Cuphead” and “Crackdown 3” are coming out this year. The highly anticipated “Sea of Thieves” will come out in 2018. 

Lows: The price point for the Xbox One X is $100 too high. Granted, Microsoft means for it to be the Rolls Royce of consoles so it’s not meant for everyone. But MS put themselves in a hole. Historically, a $500 price tag has proven to be unattractive to consumers. Microsoft also seemed to have a lack of direction. They’ve clearly heard the criticism that they don’t focus enough on games, so this time they deluged the audience with more than they can keep track of. They also want to appeal to every type of genre, from the hardcore to the kid friendly, which is an almost impossible task. I love my Xbox, in fact it’s my go-to console, but their presser seemed to show an identity crisis. Not that this will stop me from buying an Xbox One X anyway.  

Bethesda
Highs: Bethesda’s press conference was short and sweet. There were no real surprises but sequels to “Wolfenstein” and “The Evil Within” are sure to get gamers excited. So far, they’ve also had the best presentation for attendees. Bethesda set up an outdoor space they called, “Bethesdaland,” complete with areas of the property that were themed to their different titles. This wasn’t viewable from any of the online streams but in person it was impressive. In fact, it might just have been the best E3 event I’ve ever attended.

Lows: There was nothing new highlighted during the Bethesda presser. Sure, there’s some new VR options and new Creation Club mod content but the company kept things pretty simple overall. 

Ubisoft
Highs: If you liked the sea combat in “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” the pirate game “Skull & Bones” will certainly draw you in. “Beyond Good & Evil 2” was also announced, with a new trailer. The first BG&E came out in 2003 so a sequel was a welcome sight. 

Lows: I thought the toys-to-life genre was dead but for some reason Ubi wants to bring it back with “Starlink: Battle of Atlas.” As a new title without a recognizable property behind it, I just don’t see it succeeding. 

PlayStation
Highs: PlayStation might have had the strongest presser this year. They kept their presentation simple by just showing a lot of videos. The host only came out three times and said very little. PS also had a strong roster of new titles, led by “Uncharted: Lost Legacy,” “Days Gone” and the “I Robot-esque” title, “Detroit.” But the most exciting game I’ve seen so far has been “Spider-Man.” In the footage that was shown, Spidey fights like a much more acrobatic version of Batman from the “Arkham Asylum” games. It looked amazing. 

Lows: There wasn’t much explanation for the VR roster and once again, the Vita was completely ignored. Sony also didn’t take advantage of the Xbox One X price point blunder by lowering the cost of the PS4 Pro. That was a wasted opportunity. 

What you didn’t see
I hit up a couple other events that weren’t available to view via streaming. First I spent some time with the new “Crash Bandicoot” remaster, which launches on PS4 and PS4 Pro on June 30. Aside from updated graphics, it’s completely loyal to the original but now Time Trials are available in all three games, with online leaderboards as well. There’s been one more significant change, but that information is embargoed until later. But if you watch the trailer below, you might be able to figure out what that significant change is. I was able to play the game for about 30 minutes and I can say with certainty that if you’re a Crash fan, you’ll be pleased with this new, HD remaster. 

Right before the PlayStation press conference, I spent some time at the Xbox Showcase. I was able to get a closer look at the new Xbox One X. It’s surprisingly petite, slightly smaller than a PS4. There were also stations to try out games that were featured during the Xbox press conference from Sunday. I immediately jumped into one of my favorite franchises, “Crackdown 3.” It was fantastic! I can’t wait for it to come out.  

Those are the highs and lows from the last few days. Tomorrow I’ll be spending time at the Ubisoft booth to get a closer look at their titles and trying out “Golf Club 2.” Wednesday I’ll be checking out “Call of Duty: World War II,” “Destiny 2” and the next title in the “Saints Row” franchise, “Agents of Mayhem.” That’s it for today, if you want an even more inside look at E3 be sure to check me out on Twitter at @terryterrones. 

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