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E3 2019: Quite Possibly My Favorite E3 of All

streaming video games and E3 2019

Phil Spencer recently admitted that the E3 show for 2019 was weaker specifically because Activision and Sony weren't at the con. I couldn't disagree more with his opinion, as I thought this latest con was probably the best--at least for me. And I'll tell you why.

Why E3 2019 Was Impressive For Me

So, my first foray into E3 was through AOL. I had a very strong misconception that I would be trying the latest games, meeting awesome folks, and partying a ton. The latter part was somewhat true as I got some pretty decent party invites, but the former aspects weren't. Attending E3 under media, especially controlled media, is a lot more work than you might think.

It's quite literally going to an interview, record interview, sit down, write the interview, and go to the next interview. That's about it. You're there to work, and that's what they make you do. Or, of course, you lose your job, and while I can think of many jobs I wouldn't want over professional game journalism, attending a con to experience it is much easier on the stress levels. 

And that's one of the reasons why I decided to support a charity known as Stack-Up this year. Every day I was assigned to volunteer at the booth, I recognized that I wasn't on until much later in the day

Which meant I could get onto the floor. Before anyone else. And wait in line for games first. Working a booth definitely has its benefits. And although I recognize that was a very nice thing, it wasn't the reason I was there. Ultimately, I was there to support veterans. I think some of our neighbors didn't like me at our booth since I kept yelling "WIN A FREE TV," which was effective at drawing willing donators in. And eventually, someone actually did score the TV which we were happy to give out.

Rex made an appearance eventually.

Cyberpunk 2077: Meh

Let me be candid. I'm well aware that Microsoft floored everyone with the Cyberpunk stage. Keanu Reeves has claimed a new throne of celebrity stardom. I'm sure everyone's awesome shit-o-meter was nearly scoring an 11 as Keanu walked out on stage to announce Cyberpunk. It left a lasting impression on the Internet, and it was one hell of a strong move from Microsoft.

However, I was able to see the Cyberpunk demo and I was not impressed. It wasn't a mediocre demo by any means, but rest assured that, of all the playthrough demos that I've seen in the past, this was the worst. The presenter kept harping on the game player to "play it stealth," while we could tell the player just wanted to run-and-gun the shit out of the demo. Eventually, the player got his wish, and I was introduced to some terrible AI.

One particular enemy of the game would run behind a box, peek out from behind the corner, and then suddenly run out again, oblivious to player gunfire--which, by the way, was laughable at best since the game player was likely related to a stormtrooper. He wasn't able to hit the enemy once, and so we saw some mish-mash of bad targeting with bad AI. On top of that, the game crashed once. I've never seen that in a single demo, and that doesn't make me sleep soundly at night.

I think we're on a train ride to another over-hyped title. Knowing how CDPR pushes their devs, I wouldn't be surprised to see Cyberpunk 2077 a wreck of a title on release with a timeline of several months to patch it up to acceptable standards.

Streaming Video Games: How Final Fantasy 7 Remake May Fair

Arguably the winning title of the con, the line for this booth (after I played) was nearly out of the South hall doors. Curt Shinra "employees" gave us disdainful stares as we waited in line to play the remake. Call me impressed with this game. I could best describe it as a combination of XV and, well, VII. XV went in an entirely odd direction to me, where a lot of the controls and gameplay mechanics just made very little sense. Most of the time playing XV I just held down a button--almost like a light gun game where I just have to point the "shooting point" towards enemies. But VII took a lot of the controls of VX, streamlined them, and actually made the game fucking fun. It was difficult nailing down how X switched into slo-mo to use ATB charges, but after learning this small hurdle I understood how 7 worked. And it worked beautifully.

As far as streaming video games, this particular game would definitely fare well. I think novices to this kind of RPG would be willing to take a lot of advice from chat about the best way to fight enemies and bosses in the game. This definitely stole the show, and for having the front-and-center South Hall booth, Square Enix got their money's worth.

BioMutant: The E3 2019 Show Sleeper Hit

I wandered into THQ Nordic's booth with about 20 kiosks. No line with a timed demo, perfect. 
What immediately drew me into the game was BioMutant's wildly different character creation sequence. It aims to please both the meticulous character design folks and the ones who just want to get beyond it with putting minimal thought into a character's design. Instead of 30 different bars dealing with stats, there's a circle. If you want your character extremely well-rounded, stick the cursor in the middle of the circle and move forward in the process. Want it extremely intelligent? Move the cursor towards intelligence and watch its brain grow. Pretty simple, but I think this aspect of the game tries to satisfy everyone and refresh a bit of aged character creation standards.

BioMutant is hilarious. The demo ended with me fighting a gigantic beast that swallowed me and pooped me out, then suffocated me with its asshole. My kind of game--I enjoy being suffocated by assholes. If you get a chance to try BioMutant, I implore you to do so.

Borderlands 3: Still the Same Game, Just More

I'll admit there are aspects of Borderlands I don't like. I find that the game has wildly confusing menus where you need to press X in order to equip a weapon slot of a certain damage type that gives you two modifications for 30 different ammos, or you could press Y to--you get the idea. It's never been a very clean presentation, and maybe that's just the games nature. Perhaps they're doing the best they can with the kind of game Borderlands is. Ultimately, however, the demo was a total blast.

Borderlands adopts the "always online" aspect of gaming, but in a more subdued manner. You can sell weapons between your friends online. It's not the most groundbreaking development, but as one that's welcome to a lot of seasoned Borderlands players, it's a step in the right direction. The boss battle that I encountered was over-the-top, as Borderlands is known to be--imagine an entire arena filled to the ceiling with gigantic speakers that damage your character as the music hits an ear-blasting crescendo. Yep, there's more of Borderlands available, and we're excited to have it.

E3 2019 and streaming video games
All praise the Borderlands freaks.
Next week, I'll have more impressions of E3 and games releasing in the future. For now, if you'd like to catch me streaming video games, head on over to my Twitch embed page, or catch me on the following:

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