E3 is an exciting week for avid gamers for a variety of reasons. It’s a week-long festival of gaming, where we get news about our most anticipated titles and first glimpses of games we had no idea could even exist. Every year seems to have at least one “and you can play this game… right now!” moment, and the gaming press spend the week getting their hands on new titles and letting the readers know what plays well and what was disappointing.
But aside from the announcements, reviews, and special events, E3 is exciting for another reason that’s closer to home: it’s a week where the feeling of community between gamers is at its strongest. “Day 0” of E3, or the main showcase day, is always a lot of fun for those who follow gamers on social media. People tweet and post their first impressions of the announcements, sharing both snark and excitement. (If you haven’t hung around Twitter on Day 0, I highly recommend it.)
It’s hard for even the grumpiest, most battle-weary gamer to not get swept up a bit in all of the hype.
A Good Year for Game Fans
Of course the blogosphere is not immune to this excitement. Even though MMOs are usually a minimal part of the presentations there are often a few announcements for fans of the genre, and RPGs always have a strong presence.
The blogosphere’s response to the presentations and announcements of E3 2015 has generally been quite positive, particularly when compared to last year’s rather lacklustre expo. The new PC showcase presentation created an additional platform for Guild Wars 2 to announce guild halls, SWTOR’s expansion got a release date during the EA presentation, and the Final Fantasy 14 Heavensward expansion and NCSoft were well represented on the show floor.
Bethesda’s first ever showcase presentation was definitely considered a hit by the blogosphere, and of course the announcement that Final Fantasy VII was being remade got us excited. (With a few reservations – more on that later.) Much like everyone else watching, bloggers also enjoyed the return of some fan-favorite franchises like Star Fox and Mass Effect.
The Blogosphere Reviews E3
C.T. Murphy agrees with the generally positive response to this year’s expo, and its celebration of all things games. He writes on his blog Murf Versus, “With the rise of online streaming and Twitter, E3 has also been transformed into a great shared moment for all gamers to jape, be amazed, and debate with one another. In recent memory, E3 2015 proved to be one of the very best examples of what the show can and ought to offer each year.” It wasn’t just the announcements, or the hype, or the big names – the best part of E3 is the community feeling.
Void from A Green Mushroom shares his favorite video moments in his post “My Most Anticipated of E3”. His selection includes the Super Mario Maker segment from the very well-received Nintendo World Championship, the fantastic Star Wars Battlefront Multiplayer gameplay trailer, the new Fire Emblem Fates trailer, and of course the epic Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement.
Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut reviews the first two days of showcases in his post “E3 2015 Day Zero” and includes video links to each if you missed them the first time around. He believes that Bethesda Software was clearly the best of the bunch, but notes that Microsoft put on a great showing this year with the remarkable HoloLens demonstration and a wide slate of games.
Belghast also highlights Horizon: Zero Dawn as “the title that both came from out of nowhere and stole the show for me”, and I couldn’t agree more. The game had the misfortune of being in the same showcase as the Final Fantasy VII remake, Shenmue 3, and the trailer for The Last Guardian, but of all of the new intellectual properties announced this one looks like a winner. Who doesn’t want to shoot robot dinosaurs?!
Speaking of that Final Fantasy VII remake, Talarian from Gamer by Design writes why he doesn’t want a straight-up remake of the classic game. Talarian argues that while the music, the characters, and the story of FFVII are still fantastic, the gameplay itself is a little dull in retrospect.
Talarian would like to see Square Enix keep the story and the characters that we all love, but update the combat for modern audiences. He recommends that they don’t treat this new version of the game as an exact remake, but more a “reimagining” that benefits from the almost 20 years of growth in game development that has happened since the game was originally released.
Over on The Land of Odd, Vrykerion writes about SWTOR’s new expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. He feels a little put out that so little was actually said about the update during EA’s showcase, pointing out that Plants vs. Zombies got more airtime than this massive expansion. Fortunately much more is known about the expansion thanks to fan sites, and Vrykerion gives an excellent summary of what players want to know and didn’t hear at E3, including an overview of what’s included in the expansion and subscriber bonuses.
ArenaNet appeared on E3’s first ever PC showcase to announce the new guild hall feature and kick off pre-orders for the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion. Unfortunately, as Bhagpuss writes in his post “Hitting a (Pay) Wall”, the news was met with a mixed reaction from players.
Sure, the $50 price tag seems a little pricey, but the real problem is how the expansion was marketed to players. There’s also a serious lack of specifics, particularly for a game that you can already pre-order. Bhagpuss points out that Arenanet has yet to list how many new zones will be in Heart of Thorns, or how many new dungeons.
Overall, Bhagpuss recommends that upset Guild Wars 2 players put down their torches and pitchforks, but remain cautious about this expansion until more details are released.
And that’s the news from the blogosphere for this week! If you see a great blog post that you think should be featured here, leave a link in the comments or share it on Twitter at @Liores.