After being treated to a variety of announcements and presentations, E3 2018 has finally come to a close. We have seen game after game, announcement after announcement, and press conference after press conference. Some being surprises or announcements fans have been waiting for, with others ranging from nice additions to ignorable at best. Now that all the pieces have fallen, it’s time to gather our thoughts and share our reactions for not only all the presentations, but E3 as a whole.
EA Play has once again caused us to question its existence. We were “treated” to several titles that all have one thing in common; they’re just more of the same. From all the various sports games to Battlefield V, nearly every title that was showcased simply felt more of the same. Even with EA attempting to right the wrongs of Star Wars Battlefront II with Battlefield V by not featuring such egregious microtransactions, it all fell on deaf ears. EA was stuck correcting past wrongs by doing what they should have done from the start, but the efforts were all on series we have all have played far too many times that are far too similar to be excited about.
Anthem, Bioware’s last bastion of hope, had many elements that made it feel less like a Bioware title, and more akin to something like Destiny. While EA did manage to show a large amount of gameplay, rather than focusing on the story, the trailer was devoted purely to action and multiplayer, a worrying sign for a Bioware game. Our guest writer, Fallon, best surmises our feelings:
It’s still pretty. That’s about the only positive thing I can say about EA’s 2018 Anthem gameplay footage. However, when I saw the 7 minute gameplay footage from 2017, I wasn’t all in. It was enough to make me wonder about the characters and the story, since it seemed to still have those elements in the footage, but the E3 2018 presentation is actually less interesting than that earlier footage. Gone are any dialogue, story, and character elements that were in place, replaced by 4 minutes of footage that jumps around in fits and starts without rhyme or reason, with vital aspects of the gameplay either skipped over or missing. Aspects like battle dynamics, difficulty, teamwork (as this does seem to be a multiplayer game from the start), and any sense of why we’re shooting which things in the first place are all absent. The footage, entirely focused on the action-based gameplay, still did a worse job of feeling even the slightest bit engaging. Most people are calling this Anthem: I Wanna Be Iron Man, and there is a resemblance, with “Owen” playing the part of Jarvis/Friday, but all I saw was Halo: With Jetpacks. And given that Bungie made Halo and now makes Destiny, it’s not surprising to me that people are drawing comparisons between Anthem and Destiny. At the end of the day, the Bioware that fans of Dragon Age and Mass Effect grew up loving is gone. This is another company with a brand new IP I can’t even begin to care about.
EA did have two glimmers of hope with Unravel 2 and Sea of Solitude, being the only titles that have shown any decent amount of originality. It would be nice if EA put more effort into titles like this, rather than treat them like PR pieces, but we will take what we can get and look forward to these two titles.