It’s hard to believe were a few months removed from discovering that I will be returning to Los Angeles for e3 this June. Moreover, we’re now within a month of the event its self. Time has flown by; I haven’t even started packing yet or setting up my laptop to write some articles at the end of each night. Regardless, I’m in full e3 mindset now.
A lot of time has passed since my initial visit in 2010. Technology has leaped ahead, although to be quite frank, it took until 2016 for me to find an incentive to jump into this current generation of consoles, mostly due to the absolute dearth of system sellers. Now that I’ve owned a PlayStation 4 for about nine months or so now, I am still looking towards purchasing a Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in due time, regardless of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio on the horizon.
While I will do my very best to get some hands on time with as many upcoming games as I can, there are four games that will be a “must play” and write about experience. Given my history with one franchise, one selection will be a no-brainer. Another game is something I am hoping will hearken back to an experience during the Xbox/PS2 days. Then there’s a sequel to a cult classic that has had little to no real news since its reveal two years ago. The last game is from a franchise I’ve cherished throughout my life, one that moved me in a way most video games have not.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite (PS4/PC)
I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time with Capcom’s Vs. franchise. I was one of the first people in the US to have some hands on time with Marvel vs Capcom 3 in 2010, and I knew it would be a game I’d drop an inordinate amount of time on. And I did. Marvel vs Capcom Infinite though, comes off as a sort of an enigma; the scale has decreased from 3v3 back to 2v2, the gameplay has looked painfully slow compared to previous iterations of the franchise, and the return of the Infinity Gems from Marvel Superheroes seems like there will be a plethora of game-changing options available.
One major hitch to MVCI will have to do with the majority, if not all, of the Marvel roster consisting of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) characters, with little to perhaps no love given to staples of the franchise that belong to Fox’s cinematic universe. The latter franchise players include just about anyone that is a mutant; Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, Sentinel and other mutant based characters have more or less been there since the beginning of the Vs. franchise. Imagining even Wolverine missing from the mix is almost akin to a Legend of Zelda game without Zelda herself. Well, maybe not that drastic, but it’s close.
It’s going to be utterly fascinating to follow MVCI to its fall release, but to be able to get a hands on experience with the gameplay will mean a lot. With even the first Marvel vs Capcom, arguably my least favorite entry into the franchise, there was a certain amount of fun there, with no real important gimmicks. MVCI thankfully removed the controversial X Factor system and replaced it with the returning Infinity Gems, which will function drastically different from Marvel Superheroes. The roster this far in has been severely underwhelming, though Rocket Raccoon was added in, so the reunion of Dr. Strange and Rocket Raccoon as my main team seems very possible.
I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I am coming into it, like every game I will try out, with an open mind and clean slate. I thoroughly enjoyed the 3v3 system and the return to 2v2, along with the four button layout (LP, LK, HP, HK) does hearken back to the old days. A lot of fighting game fans crapped on MVC3 and UMVC3, but I absolutely loved it. I’m hoping what is presented at e3 will be positive and promising. What has been shown so far hasn’t really tickled my fancy, but like I said, once I hit that floor, and preconceived notions and thoughts are wiped out; a blank slate to all, regardless of positives or negatives I saw beforehand.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love open world video games. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas still remains the single greatest game world I have ever experienced. While there have been a plethora of superhero based open world games, far too few came close to the excitement of Spider-Man 2 on the Xbox and PS2. Subsequent Spider-Man titles lost more and more quality with each passing game, until they just stopped existing.
With the announcement of Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive) taking the reigns of a new open world Spider-Man game, many gamers interests piqued considerably. Insomniac Games already has an open world title under their belt with Sunset Overdrive, so the application towards a Spider-Man game shouldn’t be too daunting of a transition.
What I really want to see at e3 is a Spider-Man game with a sense of scope that we have not seen thus far. Many interpretations of Manhattan have been compromised, possibly for the sake of hardware, but Manhattan has never felt as vast as it should with any of the Spider-Man games. Spider-Man PS4 has to nail the scope of the city as best as possible. From there, everything else should fall into place; activities for Spider-Man to partake in that revolve around saving the citizens, hidden areas that may reveal secret villains, etc.
If there’s one developer that has the potential to create a satisfying open world Spider-Man title, it’s Insomniac Games. Not a lot has been revealed on this game, and e3 seems like the perfect place the break the ice and introduce a brand new Spider-Man game to the world in a more official captivity. It’s been far, far too long since a proper, captivating Spider-Man title has been released on consoles, and I’m hoping Spider-Man PS4 will be playable on the game floor, and impress me in ways that even I would be surprised at.
Shenmue III (PS4/PC)
Full disclosure: I’ve never played more than 15 hours of the first Shenmue, nor do I call myself a fan of the franchise. I, however, recognize the innovations and scope that Sega tried to provide on the Sega Dreamcast with Shenmue. A precursor to Grand Theft Auto III‘s world of freedom, Sega’s ambition was boundless, especially when you consider that this was originally planned to be a Sega Saturn release. Regardless, Shenmue is a divisive game – one of the few video games I can ever recall having either a “love it” or “hate it” camp, with no middle ground.
With a budget north of $70 million USD, Shenmue was one of the most expensive titles ever developed at the time. A sequel was released with Shenmue II, which only saw the light of day on the Dreamcast in Japan and Europe, with an Xbox release the following year. It too, was met with a divisive opinion. Since then, we have had genre definers in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as well as countless open world games that improved on other aspects other titles have failed to. From Sleeping Dogs‘ combat focused improvements to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s expansive and breathtaking game world, the genre has shown plenty of activity, that to this day has yet to yield. Sega has even moved onto the Yakuza franchise, which is widely considered one of the premiere open world franchises.
Two years ago at e3 2015, Shenmue III was a surprise announcement that just about blew up the internet. An announcement that absolutely no one saw coming, Shenmue III was going to be a project on Kickstarter that also was to receive funding by Sony. But since raising $6.3 million from nearly 70,000 backers, not much has been reported by gaming outlets; the only true means of information about Shenmue III has come from the Updates section of its Kickstarter page. Progress was seemingly reported on daily up until the end of the same year it was announce and funded. Taking a look at the page myself, Updates have turned into a monthly trickle, with only two updates this year. It can definitely be argued that this is indicative of being heavy and deep into production, but where are the mainstream gaming site updates?
Nevertheless, I am hoping to see Shenmue III make even a brief playable appearance at this years e3. I’d be content with a video game gameplay footage. I just want to know more about this upcoming title. If there was any time to report on progress, e3 is it. Being that I’m not really a fan per-say of the franchise (though again, I recognize and appreciate its innovations), I’ve been eager to learn more about what is to come, especially with the budget of the first title being nearly seven times more than what Kickstarter raised. Lets hope Sega and Sony give us more to chew on next month.
Super Mario Odyssey (NS)
My history with the Super Mario franchise has been told, moreover my experiences with Super Mario 64. With the exception of Super Mario Sunshine (I’m sorry, that was not a fun game whatsoever IMO) and Super Mario 3D Land, every mainline Mario title has been a surreal experience on every level. While it’s hard to clearly define the last Super Mario mainline game in terms of scope and grandeur overall (Super Mario 3D World and the New Super Mario Bros Wii and U titles felt more like an amalgamation rather than an evolution or revolution), there’s no denying that Super Mario Odyssey is looking to make waves right away.
Early previews are a bit mind-blowing; Mario is running around a semi-cartoonish real life city, and then transitioning to the staple Mario game world. Immediately it scrounged up memories of Sonic Adventure for the Sega Dreamcast, and to a more horrifying extend, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Mario seemed so blatantly out of place in those worlds. We know (most of us remember) that he is the Italian plumber from Brooklyn, but his character model doesn’t fit that universe anymore.
Then after I take a moment to let it soak in, and I see Mario doing his thing, as agile and spry as ever. Any concerns with its locale are quickly erased when I realize that Nintendo is still at the helm. Mainline Mario titles, right up to Super Mario Galaxy 2 (which was one of the greatest games I’ve ever played) have been magic on a cartridge/disc. Seeing the newest gimmick the the formula come into play (Mario’s hat) and how it adds a new wrinkle to the gameplay, combining that with the traditional looking environments but in a rich, crisp coat of paint on them, and I immediately knew this could lead to some amazing things come November.
It was just revealed that Super Mario Odyssey will indeed be presented in a playable form at this years e3 show. Being that the only real mainline Mario title that burned me in any way was Super Mario Sunshine, it’s safe to say that there’s a high probability that there will not be a repeat. Super Mario Odyssey may end up being the game of the show, although as with 2010, there’s going to be a plethora of promising titles that will be vying for the same recognition.