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Another E3 in the bag, man how time flies. E3 2019 was a strange one. Sony announced months ago that they wouldn’t be attending E3 due to a lack of games to show but even with that knowledge if felt like a vital part of the show was missing. Microsoft officially announced that they were working on a new console code-named Project Scarlet but we’ll have to wait and see if it will come out strong in the coming console wars. Nintendo were the real underdogs this year especially considering how they only showed Super Smash Brothers Ultimate last year. So it stands to reason that they’d come out swinging this year and with a Breath of the Wild sequel on the way they’re batting for the fences.
But who won E3? As arbitrary as that question is we have an answer for you but you’ll have to read to the end to find out. We’ve got some winners and some losers here. We’ve got everything from the hyper-violent to the hyper-cute to the hyper-Keanu Reeves. Despite Sony’s lack of presence and the distant sounds of a possible death knell E3 is still the biggest gaming (read: marketing) event of the year and games are worth celebrating.
Best Dark Souls Clone
It’s an unfair title but how else would we get you to read about Blasphemous. 2D Souls-likes have stung us before, looking at you Death’s Gambit, but for every failure there’s a success story, looking at you Salt & Sanctuary. Blasphemous looks like it’s taking Dark Souls’ most nightmarish creations and mixing them with a big dose of Catholic guilt. We won’t know how it plays until it’s in our hands but for now the design alone has us salivating.
Best Celebrity Appearance
Once again the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo took place behind closed doors this year. Still CD Projekt Red alleviated some of that disappointment with a surprise reveal at the end of the CG trailer at the Microsoft conference. None other than Keanu fucking Reeves will be in the game as a kind of Cortana-like AI character. In a word: Breathtaking. It’ll be a little while before we see anymore gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 but Reeves’ reveal is enough to keep me hooked for now.
Worst Celebrity Appearance
Elon Musk. Nuff said.
Most Disappointing Revelation
Further Reading: Cyberpunk 2077 art criticized as transphobic.
If we must talk Cyberpunk 2077 then let’s talk disappointment. CD Projekt and their subsidiaries have come under fire in the past for making jokes about trans people. In a screenshot released to show off the graphics of Cyberpunk 2077 there was an in-game ad for an energy drink. The model for the ad was a hyper-sexualised trans woman standing under the slogan “16 ways to mix it up”. While CD Projekt Red said the ad was intended as satire of hyper-sexual ads that excuse falls a bit flat considering the company’s previous jokes aimed at the trans community. Games are for everyone this kind of thing is reductive and ignorant.
Best Gameplay Demo
Live gameplay was quite sparse at E3 this year at least in terms of bigger games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Halo Infinite. One big game that showed a great deal was DOOM Eternal. This time around DOOM looks like way more of a capital G Game than it has since it’s original iteration. I mean of course the more regular power-ups scattered through levels, the updated design of the DOOM Slayer’s suit, the complex platforming and the overall take-no-shit, balls-to-the-wall actual gameplay. I for one can’t wait to rip and tear come 22 November 2019.
Most Disturbing Horror Game
It’s a toss up between Blair Witch and Carrion. Just kidding it’s obviously Carrion. The start menu alone put me off my pizza during the reveal. All that red, oozing flesh. Those squirming, sucking tentacles. The way the monster moves through pulsing, organic tunnels into different areas. Admittedly there doesn’t seem to be far to go with this concept but then the Blair Witch game just looks like an Outlast clone and throbbing, bleeding thresher monster beats out invisible witch every time.
Game We Missed the Most at E3
It’s been six years since The Last Of Us. I’ve graduated college twice since then. I’ve had friends move abroad. Wars have started and ended. Yet the continuation of Joel and Ellie’s adventures still eludes us. In fairness The Last of Us 2 was never going to be at E3 and even a surprise State of Play was unlikely so close to the Death Stranding announcement. So I suppose you could that I’ll be disappointed every day until The Last of Us 2 comes out.
Biggest Surprise of E3
I confess that I don’t own a Switch and I’m not that into Nintendo games but the Breath of the Wild sequel took us all by surprise I think. At least this time on Twitter we got incredible fan art of Princess Zelda instead of porn of that shark prince dude. It’s really about time we got to play as Zelda in a Zelda game. I mean her name’s in the title. Hell maybe that’s already happened; if you think I do my research before churning out these lists then you’ve got a thing coming. It looks scary, epic and, most importantly, adventurous. No I still won’t buy a Switch.
The Big Winner of E3
To be honest this award could go to anyone especially this year but the big winner of E3 2019 in my opinion is us. Yeah that’s right we’re going down this road. Am I trolling you? I guess you’ll never know. There’s never been a better time to be a gamer and they say that at E3 every year so it has to be true, right? The point is that E3 is a time for the community to come together in celebration of our corporate maste- Er I mean each other. Gamers are one of the most diverse groups on the planet, maybe the most diverse. Gaming is for everyone and each E3 that becomes clearer. So here’s to you and to all of us. Remember play games, celebrate each other and fuck Nazis!