This year’s E3 was one for the history books. With all the fantastic surprises, awesome trailers, and exciting demos, this year stood out is several different ways. While we’ll be talking about this expo for years to come, with the end of every E3 comes the avalanche of “Best of” awards from critics and gaming news sources around the world. Seeing as I wasn’t present for this year’s show (unfortunately), I can only critique and editorialize based on demos and trailers. Even so, some of the games and events at this year’s show were truly the best of the best compared to the others. Side note, you won’t find a “winner of E3” here. Especially after this year, it’s hard to say that someone truly won.
However, you can’t talk about the good without talking about the bad. While there wasn’t anything obviously terrible this year (see Nintendo’s 2008 presser for details), such sheer amazing content is bound to highlight the disappointments and missteps. With that said, here’s what I think are the best (and worst) of E3 2015
Best Gameplay Trailer
Star Wars: Battlefront
Throughout EA’s conference, a graphic kept popping up on the screen stating how much time was left till the trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront. At this point I had been annoyed as it almost felt like EA was admitting that their conference was lesser to that of the others. Despite this however, this trailer has got me extremely excited for this game. It looks stunning, once again proving that DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine is one of the best game engines around. The game looks and sounds like what you’d expect from the movies, except then you remember that it’s even better because it’s interactive. Bravo, DICE, Bravo.
Runner Up: Fallout 4
Most Exciting New IP
Horizon: Zero Dawn
The first new IP for Guerrilla Software since they started working on the Killzone series in 2004, Horizon has so much going for it. Interesting premise that has us wanting more? Check. Super cool looking female protagonist? Check. Exciting and fun-looking gameplay? Check. A release date? Well they say it will be out next year, fingers crossed that it doesn’t get delayed.
Based on the trailer the game looks mostly finished and I’m super pumped to play it.
Runner Up: Recore
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Sometimes all I want out of trailer is to laugh while I get excited. The newest South Park game trailer is just that. With tons of self-referential humour to the last game and same style as well, South Park is looking like it’s going to be a blast. Hopefully it gets that 9.5 Cartman expects of it.
Runner up: Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Best Indie Trailer
I love games with a cool aesthetic, and Cuphead looks mind-blowing. The fact that this game is being made by just two people is even more astonishing. Despite looking difficult as hell (no pun intended), I’m really excited to play this game
Runner Up: Unravel
Watch out Sackboy, you’re days are numbered.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
When the green strands of the Lifestream began to appear on the screen in Sony’s press conference, I simply couldn’t believe it. There was no way that Square Enix was remaking a game that while beloved by fans was something had been “not worth working on”. So as the stunning CGI that Square is known for played on the screens, we held our breath waiting to see if it was actually what we wanted. Ending with the logo and simply the words “remake”, the audience and internet exploded with excitement. It’s true we don’t have a release date and we probably won’t see the game for a while, but the fact that it is happening totally blew us away. See below for meme-able reaction footage by GT Live.
Surprises are the best part of E3. Sony and Square had one of the best ones in the history of E3.
Runner Up: The Last Guardian
Best Press Conference
If you read my post on Bethesda’s press conference, then you’d probably understand why I’d pick them for the Best E3 press conference. Not only was it their first time giving a showcase before the show, they set the bar incredibly high for those that followed. Sony definitely came close to meeting that bar, but Bethesda blew us away. I’m already excited for what they show us next year.
Runner Up: Sony
Best Gameplay Demo
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Just watch and be amazed.
Runner Up: Halo 5: Guardians
Nintendo’s Press Conference
Even cool puppets can’t save you. While Nintendo’s press conference wasn’t the worst; that privilege unfortunately goes to Square Enix, it was certainly the most disappointing. Despite having a solid line of game announcements, nothing blew us away or made us excited. The new Star Fox Zero gameplay looked standard of the franchise, not at all revolutionary. Even the new titles announced were almost all 3DS titles and most weren’t that engaging. I’m excited for the Animal Crossing spin-offs, but it’s not Animal Crossing for the Wii U like want. We knew going in that Nintendo’s E3 this year would be missing some key things, like the new Legend of Zelda. What we didn’t expect was that we’d be missing the fun. You were doing so well Nintendo, don’t mess up now.
It’s only 360 Days till the next E3. 2015 certainly was a monumental year for the expo. 2016 is going to have to do something insane to even come close to the bars set by this year. I’m already counting down the days.