E3 may still have one more day to go, but we’ve had ourselves one doozy of a show so far!
We’ve had some expected releases and news that pretty much everyone knew was coming, but we’ve also had some pretty rad announcements that have come as quite the surprise too. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to attend quite a bit of the show so far, and I’ve spent a lot of time on the floor, so let me hit you with the inside scoop on my favorite E3 highlights so far!
Cyberpunk 2077 and Keanu Reeves: A match made in gamer heaven! Look, I’ve been hyped on Cyberpunk 2077 since I had an inkling of what it was. The Sci-Fi epic based on an old school tabletop RPG called Cyberpunk 2020 is being developed by the incredible CD Projekt Red, the team behind The Witcher trilogy. The game has been an absolute must buy for me since the moment I laid my eyes on the very first tease for it back in 2013. Now, nine years later, we’re very nearly there, and the hype has reached a fever pitch. And that was BEFORE the Microsoft Xbox Conference at E3, where we got a rad new trailer that featured none other than Keanu Reeves.
Now, if that wasn’t enough… Keanu himself walked out on stage and blew everyone’s minds, but their minds back in, and then blew everyone’s minds again. This is arguably my favorite moment I’ve ever had at an E3, seeing him come out, oozing coolness, clearly very hyped about this game, and even handled the excited and over-energetic crowd very well, which resulted in one of the most memorable and iconic moments of the show, which is highlighted in the “You’re Breathtaking” clip above. Definitely take a look, and then start counting the days until April 16th, 2020, which is the release date Keanu revealed to all of us on the stage. If you’re an RPG fan, or hell even just a gaming fan in general, this is game most folks won’t want to miss…
Final Fantasy XIV’s first Primal boss fight is nuts! I got to demo quite a few things on the show floor (some of those things I’ll mention momentarily), but none of them were as challenging as the Titania Primal fight at Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers booth. For the uninitiated, a Primal is basically a deity in the Final Fantasy XIV universe, and these deities are corrupted or taken control of, or simply want to challenge you to ensure you are worthy. There have been numerous Primal fights since FFXIV launched, and many of them have been pretty straightforward, several of them have been tough, and a small handful of them have been downright tough. Then you have Titania, a pixie Primal available early on in the storyline of FFXIV that is clearly going to be quite the undertaking, especially for inexperienced or under-geared groups.
The Square Enix booth was filled with folks wanting to be the first to take the boss down, and so far only two have come out victorious – which is incredible, seeing as people have been fighting her for approximately 10 hours a day for two days straight. This Primal fight is mechanically intense, requires a great deal of coordination, and one of the tightest DPS checks I think I’ve seen in an MMO in a long time. Granted, I think they may have been trying to make it extra difficult by providing no help while you were in line, giving you the bare minimum gear, but it was worth it if you prevailed, as all who beat her get an exclusive “I Beat Titania!” t-shirt. I, unfortunately, was not one of those lucky few… Oh well, the fight rocks and I am SO pumped for FFXIV’s next expansions, coming July 2nd.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is as beautiful as I would have ever hoped it would be. When Final Fantasy VII’s remake was first announced four years ago, I literally stood up at my desk at work and cheered, fists thrust in the air like I had just one the lottery. I mean, in my mind I kind of did because FFVII was such an influential and incredible gaming experience for me. It was probably the first time I was so completely and utterly immersed in a game. It moved me. I laughed, I cried. I spend hundreds of hours of multiple playthroughs in the first two years I owned the game and so many more since.
So, clearly I am the target demographic here: An old school gamer who leans in HARD on gaming nostalgia, which this remake is all about. And when I get to see it first hand, I have to say… It’s so damn beautiful! It really, truly is. The attention to detail and painstaking care taken to bring these incredible characters and moments to life is truly something special. I am falling in love with the hybrid action meets turn-based systems that take the best of the old, and combine it with mechanics like you’d see in a Kingdom Hearts game. It’s fast, fluid, makes sense, and most importantly: it was really damn fun. I’m still not 100% on how the whole episodic thing is going to go, but this much is certain: I’m all in, you guys. This game is the real flippin’ deal!
Borderlands 3 has probably the raddest booth, and one of the raddest games, I’ve ever seen at E3. Subtlety I don’t think has ever really been a word you could use to describe Gearbox Software’s Borderlands franchise. The games are in-your-face fun, they’re loud, bombastic, full of energy, colorful, and so much more. Well, guess what? The booth they have for Borderlands 3 this year is absolutely bonkers. I am fairly certain you can see Gearbox’s booth from space at this point. Bright, vibrant colors make the room pop as you walk around larger-than-life statues of the characters you’ll be playing in the game.
The booth really is a sight to behold, but what’s even more of a welcome sight is how good the game is. How good, you ask? SO GOOD. It’s absolutely everything I want from a new Borderlands game, and so much more. It’s gorgeous, the comedy is perfect, the balance and skills with each of the characters seem to be the best the series has ever seen. September can’t come soon enough, you guys, and since it’s coming out the day before my birthday I think I know what I’m going to be treating myself with – even more so, now that I’ve felt the power in my hands and know that this game is going to be bigger and better than anyone is expecting.
Collection of Mana – would woulda thunk it? Now this one an announcement that truly came out of left field for me. I’ve mentioned it before on our weekly streams and on The Daily Crate in the past, but I am a MASSIVE Secret of Mana fan. It’s one of my favorite games of all time, has one of the best musical scores in a game regardless of the era, and I believe it’s a timeless classic. Square obviously agrees, as they recently did a remaster/remake of sorts for it on the PS4, which while still good, didn’t quite capture the feeling of the OG. Secret of Mana was it’s title when it released in the USA, but its Japanese title is Seiken Densetsu 2, a sequel to Seiken Densetsu, aka, Final Fantasy Adventure released on the Gameboy. What some gamers don’t know, though, is there’s a third Seiken Densetsu game in the trilogy, also known as Trials of Mana, but it’s one that has never made its way out west, outside of janky ROM translations being used on PC emulators. That is… Until yesterday when seemingly out of nowhere, Square Enix announced that not only was Collection of Mana a thing but that it was released that day on the Switch. For $39.99 you get three classic RPGs from the golden age of RPGs on your Switch, and hot damn was it an INSTANT purchase from me, you best believe! I’m looking forward to jumping into it just as soon as the E3 dust settles – and I cannot wait!