This past week, I had the pleasure of being on the show floor of E3 and experiencing a vast array of content for the first time ever. Without wasting your time, these are all the titles I experienced, including a little first impression for each:
Developer: Experiment 101
Publisher: THQ Nordic
I remember first seeing Biomutant in 2017, and my interest was piqued. The furry main character and the opportunity to explore with him through a detailed open world had me wanting more. I keep a list of games handy on my phone complete with titles I’m excited for and their respective release windows. Biomutant was once a part of that list, but it slowly faded to the background of my attention. Getting to play it at E3 was good for me, because now I know I can spend my money elsewhere.
The game suffers greatly from its uninspired combat, the dry narration, an unintuitive user interface, etc. The main boss fight has a few neat concepts integrated into it, but overall, it was simply bland. The boss itself is unmemorable. The most memorable part is being eaten by it and having to crawl your way out, but this is such a short part of the fight. This can sum up just about any enemy encounter from what I played as well. Quite mediocre.
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher 2K Games
Ho-ly crap! Easily my most anticipated game of 2019, and the demo at E3 did it a lot of favors. I played as Zane, and boy, was I impressed with the extra polish that went into this. Borderlands 3 serves as the sequel to end all sequels (well, until Borderlands 4 comes out). At the end of the day, a good sequel takes the crap out of the previous game and builds upon the quality that’s left. Gearbox gets this so well. Borderlands 3 is Borderlands 2 with a more friendly UI, sliding (!), some amazing brand-new weapons, more variety and freedom with your action skills, and some killer boss battles. In all these ways, Borderlands 3 really serves as the antithesis to Biomutant. September 13… September 13… September 13…
LUIGI’S MANSION 3
Developer: Next Level Games
This was my first time getting hands-on with a Luigi’s Mansion game, and it’ll probably be my last, but not for the reasons you may think. At the end of the day, the game is exceptionally polished. The game has tons of secrets and ways to explore. The addition of Gooigi not only gives another dimension to gameplay, but it gives a great portal to a friend through co-op play. The aggressiveness of the ghosts at times makes for an interesting challenge. The levels are thoughtfully designed with plenty of visual clues to help you solve puzzles, navigate the hotel, and find secrets. Unfortunately, the button layout makes no damn sense! This was a pain in the ass to play for just twenty minutes. While trying to use your flashlight to stun ghosts, you have to try and rotate your character using the right stick. This takes both hands. However, the ghosts move (duh), so you must move too using the left stick. You have three things to interact with and two thumbs to do it. If you can’t customize the controls, you can forget it.
ULTIMATE MARVEL ALLIANCE 3
Developer: Team Ninja
I was surprised to hear that some people are actually excited about this game, especially since we have more details regarding the development of Marvel’s Avengers being released by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix next year. This whole game feels like too little too late. There’s not much here. It’s a button-mashing mess with an awkward camera angle and boring combat. What is there feels straight out of 2005, which is just upsetting. Not the worst game I played at E3, but one of them. Why can’t I see my health bar? Where did my character just go? Oh, there they are. Am I hitting an enemy? What’s happening? I don’t want to ask these questions. I want to play the game and have a good time. Come on, Ultimate Marvel Alliance 3. Get with the program.
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Visually, this is one of the most stunning games probably ever created. The beauty of the recent DOOM games has always been the use of bright colors to give the gameplay an extra flash while set to a dark atmosphere (or lack thereof). DOOM Eternal delivers on this tenfold. Other than that, the game is exactly what fans wanted: more DOOM (2016), filled with fresh enemies to make meat out of and a new storyline. Id has delivered on this one.
Developer: Chance Agency
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
So glad I got to play this game! It has been on my list since the Nindies Showcase in March, and now I can wipe it clean off. What a snooze fest. The demo was extremely long. “Maybe they just want to show off a lot of the game.” Nope. It just takes WAAAAY too long for the game to develop into its fundamental self. There’s so much dialogue, which is something I’m okay with as long as it all has substance. So much of what’s there feels disgustingly unnecessary. In addition, the developer who was there representing the game said the demo represented one-eighth of the game. What?! So roughly 10% of the game is just used for setting up the game? There are so many things wrong here. Glad I didn’t buy the game to find this out.
SONS OF RA
Developer: Pharaoh Hound Games
Publisher: Pharaoh Hound Games
This was particularly interesting. Sons of Ra is a PVP tower-defense game. You build towers and send out troops to attack the opposing player’s base. The game also uses an ancient Egyptian foundation. You play as one of three Egyptian gods: Anubus, Isis, and Montu. Each one comes with its own special abilities and ultimate powers. For example, Isis’s ultimate is giving all friendly units invulnerability. Montu’s ultimate destroys a tower and damages other enemy towers and units around it. The game seemed like a fresh take on something that’s been done and overdone dozens of times. The absolute best part about this game is that it was created by students at Drexel University in Philadelphia and was at E3 as part of a sort of competition between other teams from other schools across the country. I’d say they won by a longshot. Played a couple of times and had a blast.
Developer: MachineGames and Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Generic-ass shooter. Not much else to say about it. You go in, shoot a bunch of people, and that’s about it. The true value in any FPS comes in the story. Since E3 is all about gameplay, I couldn’t see any of that. The one thing that was nice was being able to play co-op with someone else. That’ll surely be a much-welcomed addition to the Wolfenstein franchise. Other than that, not much else to report.
POKÉMON SWORD AND SHIELD
Developer: Game Freak
This is another game I’m not sure what to talk about with. In the demo, you move around, solve a puzzle while fighting trainers, and fight the gym leader. It’s Pokémon. Graphically, it looks very nice. I don’t tend to enjoy what I call “Eastern Visuals”, but it all came together well in this product. If you want to know about the gameplay, go buy one of the other Pokémon games from the past twenty-plus years. It’s what you’d expect.
SUPER BUCKYBALL TOURNAMENT
Developer: Pathea Games
Publisher: Pathea Games
Imagine Rocket League with people instead of cars. That’s basically soccer… and that’s basically what this is… except it’s fifteen times as amazing! How was this so much fun? You play as one of three characters on a team of three and hit a ball around. You get powers to help you score and pass the ball. It’s so simple, but it ended up being one of my premiere experiences on the show floor last week. It came as a huge surprise to me. Everything was fluid and involved tons of teamwork. Lots of fun.
Developer: Airship Syndicate
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Wow, this game was broken. There were jumps that you could only make half the time. You clipped through walls. You ran into invisible walls that weren’t there two seconds ago and aren’t there two seconds later. The actual combat was enjoyable. There was enough variety to keep me interested and playing, but there simply has to be a standard when it comes to bugs. If you have a demo of the game, that piece of the game should be rid of 99.9% of bugs and represent either the most fundamental or most representative part of your game. Don’t use bugs to represent your title.
MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD – ICEBORNE
There were four people playing in a single party at the booth, and we absolutely crushed this beast. Hell, I pretty much only pressed two buttons the whole time: attack and my heal potion. I barely even rolled. This was insanely easy. What’s more, I feel like this was representative of Monster Hunter: World, not necessarily the new DLC. There was snow, but you’re still playing the base game. It blew. Granted, this was my first time playing Monster Hunter, so they put me in a beginners group. Maybe the enemies were harder in other groups, but this was just boring. Chase the monster, hit R2 a couple of times, heal, repeat until the monster is dead. What compelling gameplay.
DESTROY ALL HUMANS! REMAKE
Developer: Black Forest Games (Originally developed by Pandemic Studios)
Publisher: THQ Nordic
It’s hard to comment on a remake of a game that I’ve never played before; I can’t really speak to the quality of the remake without previous experience. At any rate, I liked it. It’s quirky and fun. What surprised me is that it actually is a bit difficult at first. That many enemies running at you is tough to deal with, especially when you can’t spray bullets at them. You have to think a little more methodically about your movement and attacks. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to defeat the opposition. I think the best part about the game is how light-hearted it is. I probably won’t get it, but I’d recommend it to people based on what I’ve seen.
THE DARK PICTURES ANTHOLOGY: MAN OF MEDAN
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Holy balls, this game is bad. This game fails to answer the fundamental question: why should I play this as opposed to __________? In this scenario, the blank is Until Dawn. I personally find Until Dawn to be a quality title with outstanding characters, a good story to tell, and plenty of meaningful decisions to make. From what I saw, Man of Medan tries to be this and fails in every department. The acting and characters are so clearly one-dimensional. They don’t draw me in or make me want to know more. The story resorts to some crappy spin on zombies, and the decisions are shallow. What’s sad is that this is actually the studio that MADE UNTIL DAWN! WHAT THE HELL? It’s night and day. The leads on this game are totally different, and it shows.
That pretty much wraps up E3 from my end. I wish I could get around to more, but lines are brutal. Until next year!
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.