Ratchet’s E3 2016 Round-Up

E3 has come and gone once again and it’s hard to believe yet another year has flown by for us all. As always there have been plenty of new game reveals and hardware information to snap up over the past few days, and news sites have been pouring with a steady stream of content to sink our teeth into. So as last year, we’re going to take this opportunity to talk about what has interested me most at this year’s convention. Because there’s always something to talk about in this most exciting week!

Sony and Microsoft – New Hardware

Xbox One PS4.jpg

It seems the big two rival companies, Sony and Microsoft, have been hot on their hardware this year. We’ve got a PS4 Neo or PS4.5 and an Xbox One S and something known as Project Scorpio. It seems Christmas this year will likely be the time to upgrade our consoles (as long as those steep price tags don’t bother us of course). Superior graphics, faster processors, virtual reality support; there’s plenty of bells and whistles on these products but it’s all just noise to me really. As long as my regular PS4 can still play future games, the power of the console is of little concern, but maybe that’s just my way of looking at things.

Furthermore there’s all this talk about virtual reality knocking around as we encroach ever closer to seeing these platforms in our homes. We’re getting the next Resident Evil on them; Insomniac games are making their next original title on them so they must be big right? Frankly however, there’s still a long way to go before it becomes a must have in our homes and this year’s convention hasn’t done much to persuade me to the contrary. It seems more of a bonus, like the Kinect or an EyeToy, over a genuine game changer. Then again, maybe it’s just we haven’t had the chance to try it…

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Talking about game changers, despite their next console release being the company’s hot topic at the moment, Nintendo, this year, dedicated their presence almost entirely to the next The Legend of Zelda. And nelly, they’re coming up blazing at the moment. The game looks expansive, and the focus is clear, this is a different style of Zelda adventure. Yet all the footage and talks for me play a different tune. It tells me that the series is returning to its roots, dumping us in a huge world map, giving us a sword and not really holding our hands very much along the way. Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer, has told Polygon, “

“I’ve always thought that when creating a 3D game where it’s easy for users to get lost, it’s really important to tell the users what they need to do, but then, after creating this larger world, I realized that getting lost isn’t that bad. Having the option to do whatever you want and get lost is actually kind of fun. I think fans that enjoy a more linear type of gameplay will also enjoy this type of gameplay.”

It’s odd; he talks about this aspect as if it’s new to the series, but it takes me right back to the first The Legend of Zelda on NES, where getting lost and stuck was actually part of the enjoyment. I don’t usually pick up the latest Zelda game on release, but I’m really excited to see how this one turns out.

Pokémon Sun & Moon­ and Pokémon Go!

Pokémon was bound to take up the latter part of Nintendo’s conference this year; it is still the 20th anniversary year after all. We’ve now seen demos to Pokémon Sun & Moon and we’ve learnt more about the design of the starters and most interestingly about a new battle mode. It’s all pretty standard Pokémon stuff, even down to the newest reveals: Pikipek, Yungoos and Grubbin are clearly the Pidgey, Rattata and Caterpie/Weedle of this generation. They’re hardly the most interesting reveals to date and, like the starters, we’re all probably more interested in seeing what they evolve into in the long run. That being said, I cannot wait to explore the Alola region, it looks fantastic with its vibrant colours and exuberant characters. The game’s feature a new battle interface, and new mode Battle Royale where we can finally pit four Pokémon against each other at the same time. I’ll enjoy this game no doubt, but for others its remains to be seen how they will shake up the series. Nonetheless it’s very exciting to find out more.

Quickly onto Pokémon Go!, after the huge and impressive reveal last September, news on this title has been few and far between. It’s definitely more of a spin-off than an extension of the main series, which might make the title feel more underwhelming than hoped. It’s a title we have to take cautiously, all things considered, its reveal trailer really captured the world’s imagination and somehow I don’t see it living up to those expectations (at least maybe not to a dedicated Pokémon fan…).

Check the video below if you’d like more information on Pokémon Go! from E3

Crash Bandicoot Returns

Crash Skylanders.jpeg

Who’d have thought the zany marsupial would come back after so much time on the shelf! Sure we’ve merely been promised remasters of the original trilogy, and okay we’ve not seen any footage of these games as of yet, and no Naughty Dog aren’t involved. Be that as it may, it’s hard not to get excited about this, Crash Bandicoot has been fondly remembered by PlayStation fans for decades now and the games are still a joy to play today. Seeing them return in whatever guise that may be sure is something to look forward to. However we did actually see Crash at the conference as he’ll be making a guest appearance in the next Skylanders game. I can’t say I know much about the toys-to-life genre but seeing how the character looks in that game was a positive site. He’s got a toy kind of look about him but he looks more familiar to that Bandicoot on PS1 than he has ever since the change in art style that started with Crash Twinsanity. In short, it’s perhaps the most exciting news for me this year, and I cannot wait to see what future the marsupial has from here on in.

 

There we have it, the aspects of E3 that I’ve most been dying to talk about. Other highlights included seeing Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep 0.2 footage in action, which has made the prospect of seeing more Kingdom Hearts III all the more exciting. Insomniac Games are making a new Spider-Man game which sounds and looks great from the trailer at least. Final Fantasy XV is getting some kind of virtual reality feature and nobody is really impressed by it… And finally no Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary game reveal! Guess Sonic’s birthday later this month might be a better time fort that but we’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading! I’ve tried to keep this post under a tight word count so please leave a comment below whether there’s anything more you’d like to add or if there’s anything at E3 this year that you’re particularly excited about.

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