E3 2013 – The Awards

It’s been a week since the first day of E3 and we’re finally at the end of our coverage posts. Who “won” E3? That is a question that is asked every year. Sometimes there is a clear winner, while other times it’s far too close to tell. To win E3 is to provide nothing more than the most impressive conference, but ranking doesn’t begin and end with the major console developers. No. Instead, many sites go over what they thought was the best in show for software, with many sites, notably IGN, making broad categories and declaring a winner for ever mundane thing such as best fighting game. There is always that compulsion to rank and since E3 often gives the world so many announcements, it is especially tempting to try to make sense of just how good some announcements were compared to others. As such, I feel an E3 awards show is in order. Last year I gave a slew of random awards. Some of the games I was impressed with ended up being great such as The Last of Us, while others, notably The New Super Mario Bros. 2, ended up being total disappointments. It’ll be interesting to see how one can look back on this post next year, especially since things change so rapidly upon a generation jump. Do note, I’m skipping handhelds this year, because it seems like Sony and Nintendo wanted to focus entirely on their home consoles so there isn’t enough to really talk about.

Just like the Academy Awards, nobody cares.

Best Developer – Ubisoft

For the second year in a row, I’m giving this award to Ubisoft. While some found their conference to be boring, I found the best assortment of non-exclusive games that you should be excited about. Clearly Watch Dogs, the star of last year’s E3, still looks great and the gameplay we’ve seen certainly makes it seem far more real than last year’s presentation. Rayman Legends is set to be released on everything under the sun in September. Legends looks like it could easily be one of the best platformers ever made if the quality from Origins is still present. Finally, there was the showing of The Division, a new IP that looks like it could be very fun to play even if it looks like it could get lost in the hordes of similar-looking shooters. As all of their games showed lots of gameplay, Ubisoft was a shoe-in for best developer.

Still bitter I haven’t played this yet.

Best New IP – Untitled Monolith Soft Project “X”

This was the year of new IPs with a whole slew being announced at each conference. There were an obscene number to choose from and I would expect many similar lists to have different winners. Project Spark and Titanfall were undoubtably impressive, but, for me, the most impressive new IP still doesn’t have a name. Monolith Soft’s X, is a game that has gotten very little attention. When watching IGN’s post show covering Nintendo’s conference, they barely mentioned it, it at all. It has been dipping under the radar everywhere, which is a shame because it looks like the JRPG that everyone has been waiting for all generation. With breathtaking graphics, huge vistas and giant robots used for traversing these massive areas, I was more impressed with this game than almost any other in the entire show. Shooters are fun, and can be very inventive, but this game looks like something truly special. As such, I’m pimping out the trailer again for the second post in a row.

Get excited damn it!

Best Trailer – Final Fantasy XV

Trailers don’t have to include gameplay, and I would never praise a game without it showing us any gameplay, which is why I cannot yet endorse games such as The Order or Sunset Overdrive. The best trailers, however, filter gameplay along with jaw-dropping cinematics and that is exactly what Square-Enix did with the rebranded Final Fantasy Versus XIII. When it started up, and I got over the excitement of being showed something about Versus, I assumed that we’d only be getting a cinematic trailer like what we got with Sunset Overdrive. I was thankfully wrong and we soon were treated to actual gameplay footage, showing that XV will be keeping the action RPG combat that Versus had been originally shown to have. A later full gameplay trailer was released, but I’m not counting that one. The real reason XV’s trailer was so impressive is because it is undeniably next gen, and it isn’t a shooter. It really makes it standout since the best games that have been shown such as Destiny, Titanfall, Killzone Shadowfall and the like are going to have a hard time distinguishing themselves for each other.

You can tell it’s from the creator of Kingdom Hearts by the severe lack of vaginas.

Best Xbox One Exclusive – Dead Rising 3

I want to give this to Titanfall, but it is going to available on the 360 and PC, so it isn’t exclusive. Dead Rising 3 rose above Project Spark for me simply because it’s another step in actually delivering a real zombie apocalypse game. So far, no game has actually managed to do it. The Walking Dead has zero gameplay; Dead Island is more of a joke; zombie modes for shooters are just that – modes. Dead Rising 3 looks like it will be departing from the silliness of past instalments, which has alienated some of the fanbase. However, what I’ve seen so far is impressive, and Dead Rising 3 is currently the biggest reason, for me, to own the Xbox One. Although, one has to wonder how long a Capcom game will stay exclusive.

Boring generic protagonist alert!

Best PS4 Exclusive – InFamous Second Son

Killzone Shadowfall almost took this award, but the newer InFamous game simply looks a tad bit better in terms of gameplay. Both games suffer from looking far too much like their predecessors, which is a shame considering the jump to next gen. Fortunately, being too similar to an excellent game isn’t actually a bad thing. This is the third chance for the InFamous series and it will be interesting to see how much Sucker Punch has learned from the past two games. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like there will be a heavier focus on story and the new lead is certainly stronger than the stone-faced Cole. I worry that there was an opportunity to reinvent the series’ gameplay, but Sucker Punch seems to have decided that the new powers will function about the same as Cole’s electric powers. It is a solid, if not surprising game that should push some systems when it’s released in Q1.

I can think of another InFamous protagonist flying in the exact same way…

Best Wii U Exclusive – Super Smash Bros 

While X is the game that impressed me the most, the new Smash Bros was undoubtably Nintendo’s star of the show, and like X, it really put Microsoft and Sony’s exclusive games to shame, an honour that not many gamers are bestowing on the game. The new Super Smash Bros looks like an amazingly fun game. Undoubtably, it will be similar to other instalments, but the refinements and excitements over new characters certainly make it one of the most interesting games at E3. Megaman was hardly too surprising a choice, but his trailer was impressive nonetheless. The Villager on the other hand I found to be a rather lacklustre choice, although, I’m enjoying the evil Villager memes going around. Finally, the Wii Fit trainer, while garnering a lot of hate from fans for taking a spot, was totally unexpected and looks like a really fun character to play as, unlike the Villager. Smash Bros looks like it will be exactly as you’d expect, which is to say wonderful.

This is reason enough to like the Wii Fit Trainer.

Game of Show – Metal Gear Solid V

After all of that, the best game shown off this year isn’t an exclusive, showed tons of gameplay, and is part of a series. Metal Gear Solid V was easily the most impressive game this year. There is real innovation here with the corridor stealth series becoming open world. The story looks like it will maintain the wacky yet somehow serious charm that Hideo Kojima has always delivered, especially with characters like “Skull Face.” Metal Gear Solid as a series hit an emotional high with Metal Gear Solid 4, but that game lacked gameplay in a major way. Peace Walker was the first really gameplay-centric Metal Gear Solid game and it looks like V will follow in its footsteps, which is good. In the end owners of the Xbox One and PS4 should be treated to a real masterpiece.

Also worth sharing again.

Worst Developer – EA

I feel bad for kicking EA after they were nominated for worst game in America, but they make it so easy. EA began by showing us their sports roster, which nobody cares about. I’m not saying those games won’t be good, but there’s nothing worth showing off. They’re yearly franchises with little to no innovation between instalments. EA did manage to get some great press by the Star Wars Battlefront teaser and the trailer for Mirror’s Edge 2. That being said, I’m not impressed. A two second CG teaser of a game, even a cult favourite game isn’t enough to make me applaud. The absence of gameplay makes me think it’s probably a while off yet. Mirror’s Edge 2 is a sequel to a game that received middling reviews and poor sales. There is a cult following and I’m sure polish to the original concept could make something great, but it still isn’t rousing me from my seat. Altogether, it was a very mundane performance from EA, not bad, mind you, but considerably more boring than the rest.

Sorry if a two second clip doesn’t win the show for me.

Worst Game of Show – Killer Instinct

I have no respect for companies trumping up nostalgia to sucker in consumers and that is what I see with the new Killer Instinct. The classic SNES game was charming and fun, yet had a rewarding battle system. This game is nothing more than a cash grab. It is free-to-play, which is code for “it’s going to charge you for every little thing.” One character will be unlocked at the beginning, the boring Jago who nobody wants to play as. It will cost you to unlock more characters. The idea is that most fighting game enthusiasts only pick a single character to play as anyway so why not let them only pay for that character. The problem is that Killer Instinct is being developed for the casual being touted as a button masher, and most gamers, fighting fans or not, try out most characters in a fighting game before choosing the one they like best. In order to do that with this game, you’re going to have to pay. With shoddy mechanics, and a poor business model, Killer Instinct is a game I wouldn’t touch with a three foot pole.


Biggest E3 2013 Moment – Sony Drops the Mic 

Every E3 there’s some sort of big moment. Sometimes it’s great, other times we get giant enemy crabs or Wii Music. Up until near the end of Sony’s conference, I thought the big moment would be the nightmarish Lebron James render, which was so horrible I thought it would dominate opinion of Sony’s conference. I was wrong. Sony’s Jack Trenton openly attacking Microsoft’s anti-consumer policies was magnificent and also completely unexpected. People have criticized Sony for not doing anything by relying on the status quo, but this is completely unfair. It would have been easy for Sony to follow Microsoft’s suit, but they didn’t. They actively stepped away from the void, something very few non-Sony fanboys would expect. It was a massive victory for all gamers, even for Microsoft loyalists, and Sony deserves the respect they’ve gotten for this move.

I don’t care if you don’t buy used games. This is good for everyone.

Winner – Sony

Sony won this E3, but it wasn’t as resounding a victory as some would think. Microsoft was going for the jugular with constant new IP and exclusive game announcements, some of which were quite enticing. Nintendo didn’t wow anyone, but their games were, with few exceptions, a cut above everything Microsoft showed as their exclusives. However, Sony still won. Not just for it’s pro-consumer stance, which Nintendo has also taken, although, less explosively, but for its commitment to indie developers. This is a market that has been exploding this generation and Sony’s commitment to them is what really pushed their conference over the top. There were certainly weaknesses, but the good aspects of Sony’s conference outweighed the negatives which is why I’m giving it to them this year.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


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