It’s E3 week once again! It’s a fun week for video game fans: For the next few days, we get to see what some developers have been working on for years of their lives. Making games is hard, and while all developers deserve our respect, inevitably, we’ll be more intrigued by some games than others.

Sound off on what’s impressed you so far! Feel free to talk about the disinteresting crap too I guess.

Friday, 9:22 am – Gavin

I didn’t catch a whole ton of E3 this year due to my new job, but I did catch the highlights.  The obvious big one for me was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  I tried to avoid as much as I could, just watching enough to gauge my interest in general, but avoiding enough so as not to have anything spoiled.  The basic gameplay I saw indicated that they’re taking a more western-friendly approach to the game – more crafting/resource collection, enhanced movement, and a more open world.

To that end, the open world looks massive.  They showed what everyone thought was a large section of the map, but it turns out it’s only one small fraction, maybe 10% of the overall map.  We’re talking Witcher 3 or Skyrim^2-level big.  I really look forward to it!

I’m also stoked for Watch Dogs 2.  I enjoyed Watch Dogs 1 as a proof-of-concept.  I had criticisms for sure, as did many others, but I really enjoyed it, probably more than most.  I ended up dumping about 45 or 46 hours into that game from start to finish – manipulating the environment to evade police chases is never not fun.

Other than that, it was a fairly routine E3.  I didn’t watch Sony’s conference, though I heard it was good.  I vaguely paid attention to Microsoft, Ubisoft, and the Nintendo stream.  Got my 20% off pre-order in for Zelda, which is a good thing because Nintendo games don’t go down in price for ages.

I finished up Rise of the Tomb Raider earlier this week.  All in all, a definite improvement over TR13, which was already a very good game. If you liked that one, you’ll really like this one.  There is substance and significance to backtracking and resource-gathering, which is where I felt TR13 a bit lacking.  Cutscenes are GORGEOUS – animation fidelity is through the roof.  Action feels as satisfying as it did in TR13, and stealth felt more meaningful.  A few sequences feel lifted from TR13 – without getting into spoilers, there’s a “survive the attack!” segment and the final battle segment that both feel quite samey.  Still, they were good there, so they’re good here.

Bottom line, if you enjoyed TR13, you’ll love this one or double your money back.

After that, I delved into The Witcher 3 for a short while.  Instant first impressions: the world looks nice and cohesive, side missions seem to have purpose in the greater context of the world as opposed to just tacked on, and setpieces look nice.  Cutscene animation fidelity and voice acting isn’t as good as Rise of the Tomb Raider though.  I’m sure I’ll get over it, but it’s a bit glaring considering the gorgeous game I just finished.

We’ll see how long I spend in it!

Monday, 4:01 pm – Albert

I’m back! I have not really been playing games (besides Clash Royale on Android) but with E3 here I had to take a look at some hype to get excited about games again.

First up – Fallout 4 and Skyrim announcements (Praise be to Todd Howard)

Second – Quake is back!

Those seemed to stand out the most to me from the Bethesda conference. Of course there was a long showing of Dishonored 2 (although I have not played the 1st) but it looks great. Looking forward to seeing what other studios are pushing this year.

In the meantime, might I suggest Clash Royale (Clan: GitRektBrah – needs more members). It’s an amazing mobile game that has consumed my gaming time and really has been the thing that has kept me entertained while I moved. Really haven’t needed anything else. It’s a “dota-style” 3 tower defense game while you collect cards to play units. I cannot explain the game correctly but here’s this!

Monday, 3:13 pm – Ricky

Press conferences actually started up on Sunday this year, with EA and Bethesda showing off some stuff. I haven’t caught much of what they talked about, other than the fact that the Visceral Star Wars game is dropping “some time in 2018”. That seems… really far away, but I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it. In the meantime, I’m sure they’ll release more Star Wars games, movies, TV shows and comics to keep me occupied.