Looking Back At E3 2014

E3 2014 has wrapped up, and the future of console gaming is looking as bright as ever.

There were game reveals, hardware redesigns, and questionable moments in press conferences, but all-in-all, it was one hell of a celebration of gaming. Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo had (mostly) decent press briefings, strong presences at the events, and had fans buzzing with excitement for what’s to come.

It will take a few days to process everything that we saw this week, and there are surely a few gems that either went unnoticed or were unfortunately forgotten fairly quickly, but the three games that stand out the most to me after this week are Rainbow Six: Siege, No Man’s Sky, and Zelda Wii U.

Rainbow Six: Siege

The Rainbow Six franchise is near and dear to my heart. The original tactical, strategic first-person shooter was revolutionary for its time, and though subsequent games weren’t always successful at recreating the formula (with Rainbow Six: Vegas being a serious exception), the franchise has always represented a step above what games like Battlefield and Call of Duty have done. This franchise isn’t about running and gunning, or even merely working as a team. It is about completely controlling every aspect of your experience and the thrill of successfully completing missions as they were drawn up.

Rainbow Six: Siege looks like it could be a return to this formula, though the added multiplayer presents a possible problem. We have seen nothing so far of the single player (if there IS a single player version), and this concerns me. While multiplayer games have taken over the world, completing typical Rainbow Six missions in cooperative play will be much more difficult, as you have to rely on your friends, or complete strangers who may not care about doing it the way you want, in order to get it right. This could completely ruin your immersion and feeling of control, and it runs the risk of killing the game overall.

However, assuming there is a single player mode planned AND that it is a serious focus for the development team – not just a thrown-in afterthought like many of today’s shooters –  the revamped visuals and fluid, fast-paced action could make this one of the best shooters in a long time.

No Man’s Sky

I’m not mentioning this game because I’m excited for it, but because I’m intrigued by it. I don’t understand how a team of four have created this massive open galaxy with no load screens. From what we’ve seen it seems like one of the largest games ever, and yet you never have to wait to load a level or planet or anything. The game is designed to be exploratory, offering players the chance to walk around and explore entire planets, then hop in their ship and blast off through the galaxy in search of a new planet to explore.

What I don’t understand though, is what is the point of the game? Is it just to explore? Is it just to look around? That’s a great idea for a game, but what is the incentive to explore? What are the resources you can gather, and how are they used? This game has a long way to go to win me over convincingly, but it’s safe to say I am extremely interested to see what comes of it.

Zelda Wii U

Maybe it’s just because of my recent reading of the book Console Wars, by Blake J. Harris, but this year’s E3 seemed to not be as unfortunate for Nintendo as it has been in the past. Nothing revolutionary was announced, but they teased a little bit from Zelda Wii U, which still doesn’t have a release date or official name, but from the brief glimpse we got, it appears the franchise may finally be growing up a bit. An open world Zelda game? Sign me up!

As I said, it was a very brief glimpse, and we don’t know much about it other than it’s open world. But when we were told we could walk to that mountain in the distance, exploratory gamers like myself everywhere audibly said, “wow!” It looks beautiful so far, and if the final came can come even close to what we saw this week, the Wii U may finally have its ultimate killer app.

E3 is one of the the best weeks of the year for hardcore gamers, and while this year lacked the wow factor of last year’s show, we finally have a good road map of what to expect from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo over the next 18 months. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are a little light in the games department, and the Wii U hasn’t really caught on yet, but there ARE games coming, and there is a lot to be excited about.

Stay tuned to QGN for more hands-on gameplay impressions over the coming days.

Leave a Reply