The Biggest Takeaways From E3 2018

This years E3 was a doozy. We got several unicorn announcements (Elder Scrolls VI, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Halo Infinite, etc.) but we also had a couple fairly boring conferences in EA and Square Enix. So let’s talk about the biggest announcements and takeaways from this years show.0067e324-6e38-472c-a01c-66cc9d838209-2879-000003d91d739151

1. Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally a real thing

We have finally played Kingdom Hearts 3. It’s real, I have seen it with my own eyes and it did not disappoint. As far as news goes though, we got confirmation of a few new inclusions. First off, we are getting a Frozen world and it looks like we will be following the plot of the movie. We also got confirmation of our third link, Simba. We got a quick glimpse of Remy from Ratatouille but it was kind of unclear whether he was part of some kind of mini-game or if he was a proper link character. Finally, during the Sony conference we got a taste of the Pirates of the Caribbean world and by the looks of the environment we will be following the plot of At Worlds End, the third Pirates movie. We also got a few interesting tidbits of Kingdom Hearts specific lore, but so won’t get into that now.1ed8f04d-5d94-419e-bd71-86d1b5643224-2879-000003d96a82dbea

2. Bethesda had a conference of dreams

I know that some people are dissatisfied with the news from Bethesda’s conference, but I really don’t understand how. They brought the big guns. We got Fallout 76, Wolfenstein Youngbloods, Doom Eternal, Rage 2, we got the first true new IP from Bethesda in years with Starfield and of course we finally got confirmation of The Elder Scrolls VI. While those last two are most likely many years away, all the others will probably be in our hands by the end of next year. Still some are very disappointed. Those people just don’t like Bethesda games.

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3. Arrogant Sony might be back

Sony has been coming up Milhouse left and right since the announcement of the Playstation 4, but they have made several odd decisions lately that have helped set up Microsoft to take the top spot back when the next generation consoles roll out. In particular this whole cross-play debacle with Fortnite has really rubbed their core players the wrong way. A lot of us were also turned off by the incredibly strange way they handled their press conference. The content was great, but the awkward commercial break directly following The Last of Us Pt. 2 completely broke the flow of the show.08f44391-6f21-46e0-9720-73665b098896-2879-000003d901d79bcd

4. Microsoft won E3

Microsoft opened with Halo Infinite. They had the big 3rd party announcements, not Sony. (Devil May Cry 5) They closed with Gears 5 and Cyberpunk 2077. The biggest news here though is the growth of their development team. It isn’t the quantity, it’s the quality of the studios they added. Let’s start with The Initiative, the only wholly new studio coming out of the announcement. Based in Santa Monica and headed up by former Crystal Dynamics studio head, Darrell Gallagher, I am personally very excited about what this team might add to Microsoft’s catalog. Then there is Undead Labs the creators of State of Decay. This one just makes sense, they need a team to specialize in open-world action games and I believe Undead Labs has better years ahead of them. Playground Games is almost a formality at this point. They have been making Microsoft exclusives for years in the Forza Horizon franchise and it is a smart move to lock this talented team down. Now we have the surprises, Compulsion Games, the makers of We Happy Few, and Ninja Theory. Of all their acquisitions I am most excited about Ninja Theory. Hellblade was on the short list for Game of the Year last year and I can’t wait to see what this team can do with Microsoft’s resources.cropped-c260fa08-fe92-4124-963d-682bebe84f23.jpeg

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Are you kidding me? We get it all. Every single character in the history of the franchise Yup. Gamecube controller support? Yup. Over 80 new and remastered stages? Yup. And we finally get Ridley, he is not too big after all. I actually got to play 4 matches at E3 this past week and December 7th cannot come soon enough

So those are my five biggest takeaways from E3 2018. What were yours? Leave a comment below or follow @terrible_not and tell me your favorite and least favorite E3 moments and for more news and opinions stay tuned to notalwaysterrible.com

One-Page Preview: Kingdom Hearts 3

What a wait it has been. I was but a child when I played Kingdom Hearts 2. For many years I believed we would never get a proper conclusion to Sora, Donald and Goofy’s journey, but here we are. It’s 2018 and we are but 7 months away from Kingdom Hearts 3. If my hands-on time with the game at E3 this year is any indication of what’s to come it looks like the wait might have been worth it.

I played a 20 minute demo of the new Toy Story world, Toy Box. There was no real story explanation as the demo was focused on combat and there is a lot of combat. There are so many options when it comes to tearing down the hordes of heartless. If you’re a purist you could absolutely make it by with just the classic swings of the keyblade. But the more interesting and fun way to go about it, is to jump between the new options KH3 gives you. If you string together enough hits, Keyblade Transformations become available and they differ between the different unloveable keyblades. The Toy Story themed blade transforms into the Hyper Hammer and it is a joy to harness.

It gives access to area of effect attacks that are far more powerful than the standard keyblade attacks. If you manage to keep up the attacks you can transform again into the Drill Punch. It lets you grab heartless and pull them to you as well as drill in and out of the area.

We also have access to new summon type moves inspired by Disney World attractions. The first one was the tea cups, which you can spin around faster and faster, wiping out heartless as you go. The other one I got to activate was a giant spinning pirate ship that was a little harder to control. Essentially you spin the ship around and as you go faster you get stronger and the area of effect gets wider.

The demo concluded at Galaxy Toys, a huge new area in the Toy Box world. The area was plagued with giant mechs. I had two link attacks available to me so I used those first.

Wreck-it-Ralph is a sight to behold. He can charge and build blocks up that shoot at the enemies. Towards the end of his timer you get the option to activate a finishing move that wrecks all the blocks you’ve built in giant explosion.

Ariel on the other hand lets you dive in and out of the environment like water. It’s one of the most gorgeous looking animations I’ve ever seen and her link ends in a fountain of colors and explosions that truly belong in Disney World.

Ultimately the mechs were impossible to defeat without jumping into a mech suit myself and fighting fire with fire. There were three suits available and they each had a special move. Using a combination of super charged punches, laser blasts and jet pack smash attacks, the mechs were defeated and my demo came to an end.

Even in the short time I had with the title, I am very happy with what I saw. The game takes all the best parts of the last 15 years of Kingdom Hearts games and leaves behind the failed experiments. Hopefully the other worlds have as much variety as the Toy Box. My main concern is the games difficulty. With all the new combat options the standard heartless are almost no trouble at all. They really need to give the enemies a shot in the arm.

For more info on Kingdom Hearts 3 as we approach the release on January 29th, stay tuned to NotAlwaysTerrible.com