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Michael Bitton: Mike’s Best of E3 2019

By Michael Bitton on June 13, 2019 | Columns | Comments

Mike’s Best of E3 2019

Another year, another E3. This time the show was a bit smaller than we’re used to, with companies like Sony opting to skip altogether. Thankfully, the folks at Nintendo, Square Enix and Microsoft impressed enough to make for a decent overall showing. These are my favorite developments of E3 2019.

Marvel’s Avengers

After looking forward to hearing more about Crystal Dynamics’ “Avengers Project” for a few years now, the team finally unveiled the game at this year’s E3. My feelings are mixed on what I saw, mostly because I just wasn’t a fan of the off-brand looking designs of the main cast of characters we’ll be able to play. Between having the MCU actors’ versions of the characters ingrained into my mind and the uninspired interpretation on Crystal Dynamics’ part, I just don’t think it worked. Fortunately, the team seems to have heard the feedback and we’ll hopefully see some improvements in this area as the game develops.

My apprehension over the visuals aside, what I learned about the game at the show has me excited. Marvel Heroes may have been canceled, but Avengers may scratch that same itch when it releases next year. The game will feature single player and co-op content, skill progression, loot and an online service with new regions and playable characters released over time (at no additional cost). The execution here will be important, but I’m liking what I’m hearing, even if I’m not as happy with what I’m seeing.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Fallen Order is another game where I’m more encouraged by what I’ve heard than what I actually saw. I’d say the gameplay demo shown at E3 left me “whelmed” but everything I’ve heard about the game from the coverage that has come out so far leaves me both excited and scratching my head. Why did EA choose to highlight a more linear segment of the game when it turns out Fallen Order is much more open than we’re led to believe from the demo? As a huge Star Wars fan, I’m here for Fallen Order for the story if nothing else, but learning that the game has more in common with Metroid than, say, Uncharted isn’t something I should’ve had to pick up from previews.

According to Game Informer, we’ll be able to freely explore worlds and there will be a good deal of backtracking to do, unlocking previously inaccessible areas using new powers and the like. There also won’t be waypoints railroading you towards the next objective. Fallen Order may not be a pure open world game, but it apparently allows for a lot more freedom than the demo showed off.

As far as what I did like from the demo itself, the more deliberate pace of combat is a refreshing change from the Mountain Dew fueled insanity found in something like The Force Unleashed. Combat in Fallen Order looks to take quite a bit from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which is fine by me. I do hope I’ll be able to dial up the difficulty, though. Combat looked a bit too easy in the demo.

Breath of the Wild Sequel

I must admit I am in a small minority of Zelda fans who couldn’t quite get into Breath of the Wild. The lack of actual dungeons and frustrating weapon degradation mechanics just really took me out of the game. The surprise announcement of a sequel at E3 2019 represents a chance for me to enjoy the series I love once again.

The tone of the new game also appears to be darker, which I appreciated in games like A Link to the Past, Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. If Nintendo can just dial back on the frustrating mechanics and bring back dungeons, I’ll be fully on board. The trailer also seems to hint at playable Zelda being a possibility in the sequel, which is something lots of fans have been hoping for for many years now.

Final Fantasy VIII Remaster

With the way Square Enix has been treating Final Fantasy VIII over the years, you’d think they’ve almost forgotten the game existed. FF8 fans have felt neglected for some time now but Square Enix ended all that at this year’s E3 with the announcement of a full remaster of the game coming out later this year.

It’s not the most popular game in the series, but it’s long been a favorite of mine despite its many flaws. There aren’t a ton of details on the remaster so far, but the simple upgrade in visual fidelity will be a welcome change for sure.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

This was a huge year for the Final Fantasy VII Remake. The game had basically become a vaporware meme along the lines of Duke Nukem Forever, but development has accelerated over the past few years with more and more of the game shown off at key shows such as E3 or TGS.

This year we finally learned that part one of the remake will release on March 3, 2020 and will take place entirely in Midgar. Midgar only makes up a small section of the original game, but Square Enix is looking to expand it out into the length of a full game (split across two Blu Ray discs!) for the first entry in the Remake series of games. Square Enix doesn’t know how many parts it will take to finish the entire remake, but with processes and assets now in place from developing the first entry, they feel confident that the subsequent pieces won’t take nearly as long to develop. Personally, I’m not complaining. If Square Enix wants to take one of my most beloved RPGs and expand out the total story even further, I’m all for it.

We also got our first glimpse of fan favorite character Tifa Lockhart and a much closer look at the game’s combat systems. There’s something here for fans of the original game’s turn-based combat and for those who appreciate the action focus of the modern Final Fantasy titles. Tifa looks like a lot of fun to play, in particular. Her brawler focus fits in well with the action elements of the remake’s combat systems. She was always a mainstay of my party in the original game and I imagine that won’t change in the remake.

What were the highlights of E3 2019 for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site''s Community Manager.