With E3 finished for another year, Microsoft won out. Nintendo had the bomb-shell of a new Super Smash Bros., but they failed to hold any interest after showing it off in the Direct for twenty-five minutes. And that wasn’t helped at all by the fact across the three days of Treehouse they showcased it for more than four hours total – not including the Smash Bros. Invitational which would add more than two hours to that total. I wouldn’t have minded as much if there was a showcase of different modes.
As for the other games at the Treehouse, the two showcases of Super Mario Party had me convinced that the series is going back to what made it fun while actually creating new experiences from that classic mould. Daemon X Machina is looking a fun action game, but it was the showcase of Starlink: Battle For Atlas that managed to raise excitement. The game looks great, as I’d already noted, but seeing the gameplay in action has me wanting to dive in myself. It was said that the worlds are always living, so visiting a world for the first time could have a large enemy presence that you’ve left to grow while exploring another world.
Microsoft won out, and I have to find a reason why that is than just Forza. The Horizon side series has won me over more than the Motorsport main series, and with the fourth expanding the world with the seasonal clock and a true race creator – plus a lot more – it’s easy to see why I would say Microsoft won just from this one alone. There was the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer which was definitely a welcome surprise, but that comes under Square-Enix. I guess I could say that Microsoft are showing a willingness to move into the future, and that came through very clear.
Team Sonic Racing was featured, but I’m unsure about it. A racing game whose core mechanic is being in team. In every race, not only are you competing against all the other racers to get first, you also have to help your teammates to get into high positions. You can offer up items for teammates to take as well as offering them a speed boost while in front, but the system comes down to luck when racing with AI. Since you are bound by a team, it doesn’t matter if you come first if your teammates are stuck in last. In multiplayer racing that works out more as skill, but with a story mode confirmed to be here, I’m unsure exactly how I feel about it.
There’s not much to get interested in with just a name, and plenty of them were name-dropped throughout. There was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order as one I’ve mentioned from EA’s conference, but Bethesda had The Elder Scrolls 6, and Starfield. Square-Enix did the same with Babylon’s Fall and The Quiet Man. Okay, it was technically a bit more than a name-drop for The Quiet Man as we had a small concept teaser, but it amounts to the same thing. And speaking of Square, they gave us a trailer for Dragon Quest XI, so I’m happy about that. It’ll have to be on the PC, as that and the PS4 are the only two platforms that seem to be in the marketing, but at least I know I can play it.
The conferences were fun to watch, and Sony seemed to have derailed at the start of theirs from what I’ve heard, but pulled it back for the second half. Nintendo seem to be holding back and waiting for the future, EA are being their usual selves, with Ubisoft pushing both the present and the future. There was enough this year for me to call it a good showing, and it would have been a great one if Nintendo had dialled back on that Smash gameplay. I get that they didn’t have all that much, but they could have reduced the Treehouse timetable instead of stretching themselves to the limit.