Another year, another selection of press conferences at E3 designed to separate our hard-earned cash from our clutches. From Keanu Reeves to Banjo-Kazooie it’s been quite the ride, with highs, lows, sighs, and other such noises. With the end of Nintendo’s Digital Event, all the major showings are over so now we look back and see what titles really impressed the good people of GamEir.

 Niall – Breath of the Wild Sequel

My favourite game of all time is Majora’s Mask. Building off of the far more popular Ocarina of Time Majora went in a completely different direction. Where Ocarina focused on jolly adventuring Majora went for apocalyptic nightmare fuel and melancholy.  With that in mind, the trailer for the newest Zelda shows a much darker and creepier tone than it’s predecessor, as Link and Zelda dabble in grave-robbing.

As Brendan Fraser would tell you this ends poorly as an ancient mummy (Ganon?) comes to life and starts to magically elevate Hyrule Castle. I don’t want to sound prejudiced but I doubt this dead dude has benevolent intentions.

My love of the Zelda series has always stemmed from how unafraid it is to get weird and shake things up so I hope this title has plenty of those surprises up its sleeve. The giant buffalo, discordant hell music and Zelda’s sweet new hairdo are enough to make this my new most anticipated game. Give me my main man Tingle and this will be the best game of all time.

Graham – Final Fantasy VII Remake

I mean come on guys it’s obviously Final Fantasy VII Remake. The fact that Cloud and the gang are coming back made me feel quite emotional. Seeing those iconic moments reimagined at this years E3 was absolutely fantastic.

What got me were the little touches:

  • The fact that you can see the materia (and it’s colour) within the slot on Cloud’s Buster Sword as well as Barrett’s gun arm.
  • Tifa’s new design and her amazing stylised fighting abilities.
  • The expansion of the motorbike section with Avalanche.
  • The improved boss battles which look incredibly cinematic.

As well as the iconic moments there were a few times where the story seems to have evolved. The most significant element was the interaction between Cloud and Sephiroth. This moment did not happen in the original but it is a welcome change.

The battle system looks promising, the score is suitably epic, and the character designs pop. As a great man loved to exclaim, “Nuff said!”

Dave – Elden Ring

A few weeks ago, the existence of a new Fromsoftware game was confirmed. We heard two things, they were working on an open world Norse mythology-inspired game and George R. R. Martin was helping to create the story. Do we even need more incentive than that? At E3 we learned its name; Elden Ring. The Xbox conference gave us a cinematic trailer much in the vein of first trailers for previous Fromsoft games. It paints a picture of a dark and mystical world, full of Norse and Celtic inspiration.

Fromsoftware has a habit of creating their own takes on mythology and I expect this game to do just that. In press releases since then, Miyazaki himself has said that Elden Ring is the biggest game they have ever built, and it is a broader action RPG than any of their previous games.

Unconfirmed are the rumours that the game will include horse riding and travelling to different kingdoms, but those things are certainly in line with what we know to be true. Fromsoftware has become the kind of developer who has my money for life, and having the credibility of George R. R. Martin on board is just gravy. I cannot wait to know more about this game.

Brian – Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

Shane f**kin Walsh. Frank f**kin Castle. And now, Cole D. F**kin Walker. When a digitized Jon Bernthal shows up on screen, you know things are about to kick off. When real life Jon Bernthal shows up, with his dog (Bam Bam), s**t just got real. Of all the keynotes and pressers at E3 2019, two will stand out in my memory. First, Keanu Reeves. Second, and more so than the first, Jon Bernthals appearance. We’ve all been Bernthal fans since The Walking Dead, and we delighted at his turn as Frank Castle in The Punisher. Now, as Cole D. Walker, a rogue Ghost agent in upcoming Tom Clancy game Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Bernthal can get to grips with another multi-faceted tough guy. In Bernthal’s own words from E3:

…Cole D. Walker. A skilled, former special operations soldier, with his own sense of responsibility, and his own moral code… He loves his fellow soldiers, his brothers, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to complete his mission… We’ve got the numbers, we’ve got the organisation, and remember; we trained alongside you…

While other media for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint serves to highlight mechanics, graphics, game-play etc., what Walkers introduction cinematic does, is give us context. It immerses us into this world. Walker and his “Wolves” aren’t “bad guys”; they’re actually us. The difference being, something changed for them. Some intangible motivation flicked over. While games in this genre rarely, if ever, question the morality of these black ops units, a character like this can highlight the murky grey area these soldiers actually inhabit. There have been two points in my life when I genuinely wanted the good guys to lose. First, Gen. Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) in The Rock. The second, will be Cole D. F**kin Walker.

Steve – Everything but Microsoft

E3 2019 has come and gone. In my opinion it was Microsoft’s to win and they did not turn up at all. Some games I found interesting, but the “reveal” of their new console was the weakest I have ever seen. They were never able to keep me engaged and wanting to see more. Which I found most disappointing.

The biggest highlight to me is Keanu in Cyberpunk 2077. It is a fitting and cool move and he is just the best the human race has to offer. Hearing that his character will have the biggest side character questline has gotten me even more hyped. Now where can I get the collectors edition in Ireland?

An honourary mention goes out to the kickass old lady Helen of Watch Dogs Legion. Please Ubisoft let me fight the system with an army of high tech pensioners!

The race for best presentation was a hard fought race between Devolver, Square-Enix and Nintendo. Thanks to the big N’s (Nintendo) strong direct ending with a tease for the first ever direct sequel to a main line Zelda, in my opinion they beat out the competition. This tease has my Zelda fan heart throbbing. It is alluding to a potential for coop or even having Zelda as the hero. So many questions that I cannot wait to find the answers for. Overall, I feel this has been the weakest E3 in a good few years, but the highlights shine all the brighter.

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