E3 2014

HWM (Singapore) - - FEATURE - Text by AaronYip + TeamGameAxis Art Di­rec­tion by IanChong

E3 has tra­di­tion­ally been the bat­tle­ground for the ‘Big 3’—Mi­crosoft, Sony and Nin­tendo—as the main con­sole play­ers around. Key­note ad­dresses from each are of­ten scru­ti­nized by me­dia and pub­lic to find a ‘win­ner’ - the com­pany with the most sig­nif­i­cant an­nounce­ments and an­tic­i­pated ex­clu­sives. This year’s E3? No­body wins… well maybe Nin­tendo a lit­tle.

E3 2014 Roundup

Let’s first agree that it’s point­less to go into such a dis­cus­sion with any kind of ob­jec­tive anal­y­sis. You can’t tab­u­late the en­tire show game-by-game, an­nounce­ment-by-an­nounce­ment and come up with some kind of score for the big com­pa­nies in­volved. All three hard­ware mak­ers had some great games, some sur­pris­ing games, and a few mur­murs.

Nin­tendo’s strat­egy of mak­ing bright, fam­ily games in a mar­ket of death and de­struc­tion might not be win­ning it mar­ket share— at least not in the liv­ing room. But it’s dif­fer­ent, in a fun­da­men­tal, core- of-the­com­pany way. It’s the only one of the big three that is still putting ‘play’, in the truest, light­est sense of that word, at the heart of its strat­egy, prod­ucts and mes­sage. Its games are of­ten ridicu­lous, gen­uinely batty, and im­pos­si­ble not to love.

Mi­crosoft and Sony are ask­ing you to fight, to com­pete, de­mol­ish and crush your op­po­nents, and your friends’ hopes and dreams by own­ing the best, most pow­er­ful and most ag­gres­sive hard­ware in the world.

Nin­tendo is ask­ing you to use paint to splat­ter your foes and cover the floor with your own color in order to win. Or make a green col­ored di­nosaur made of yarn grap­ple with its tongue.

That’s not to say that I don’t want to play GTA 5 in HD, or shoot bad guys in the new Call of Duty, hit a hat-trick in FIFA 14 or play all of the gen­uinely cool look­ing in­die ti­tles on both the Xbox One and PlayS­ta­tion 4. It’s also not to say that Nin­tendo doesn’t make mis­takes, re­lease bad, in­com­plete or poorly thought out games, or need to rapidly re­assess its hard­ware strat­egy, if not at this E3 than in a few years time.

Or in the case of the Wii U, that it couldn’t do with at least a cou­ple of those above third-party ti­tles on its own sys­tem.

But it was also clear dur­ing Nin­tendo’s E3 an­nounce­ments via it’s Nin­tendo Di­rect stream­ing chan­nel, that when it comes to a vi­sion for what games are, should be and will look like in a year or two years ( like in the case of the jaw- drop­ping im­pres­sive Zelda for Wii U), the Ja­panese com­pany is the only one of the three that has its head re­ally above the clouds, gazing at the stars and won­der­ing what they’d look like if they were made of paint, yarn or some­thing.

Any­way, back to re­al­ity. The line-up of games for Nin­tendo isn’t bad, but could be bet­ter. Smash Bros and Bay­o­netta 2 look great. The new Zelda ap­pears to be dra­mat­i­cally gor­geous, if a bit ethe­real at this early stage. Some of the plat­form­ers looked a bit generic, but Splatoon could be a bril­liant re­work­ing of the stale shooter genre, if it’s given a chance. Too many of the games aren’t out for too long.

And the Wii U might not last that long. On the other side, Mi­crosoft and Sony also had some killer ti­tles – most no­tably the mas­sive re­mas­tered com­pi­la­tion of past Halo games on the way to the Xbox One, and Un­charted, Grim Fan­dango and Lit­tleBigPlanet 3 will all be must-buys on PlayS­ta­tion 4. They have mo­men­tum, big ideas, money and the al­le­giance of the hard­core. More im­por­tantly, the third-party pub­lish­ers.

If I can, I’ll play them all. And I’ll love many of them equally. But when I look back to E3 2014, and how each of com­pany sees games, and how they want me to play them, there should have been a win­ner… ex­cept, of course, there isn’t.

In the mean­time, we have com­piled the most talked about games that were show­cased at E3 2014 – in­clud­ing our per­sonal ‘Best of’ picks. Which one/s are you wait­ing for most?

The Games of E3 2014

E3 has come and gone and this year seemed a lit­tle muted. One of the main fac­tors was due to the fact that the ex­cite­ment from new con­sole launches has died down from last year. This year’s fo­cus was on games of course and we’ve gone through the trou­ble to cherry pick the most promis­ing from the show floor. There’s ac­tu­ally plenty of va­ri­ety, so gamers of all gen­res should have some­thing to look out for in the com­ing months.

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