Clocked

E3 2021: the best and worst announcements from this year’s conference

As the annual E3 event comes to a close, we’ve compiled a list of some of the highs and lows of our favourite gaming extravaganza.

Although many people were critical of this year’s E3, I thought we got a belter of a show. Big companies like Xbox and Nintendo are setting the benchmark for this year’s triple AAA titles, whilst smaller teams like Devolver Digital keeping the gaming scene fresh with exciting new indie games on the horizon.

Of course, it wouldn’t be E3 if there weren’t a couple of blunder moments either. In favour of saving you the trawl through hundreds of titles that were revealed this year, here’s our rundown of the best and the worst of E3 2021.

E3 2021

Best: Phantom Abyss 

One of the most slept-on games from this year’s E3 has to be Phantom Abyss. On the surface level, this just looks like a first-person version of iOS hit Temple Runner, but it’s so much more than that.

Phantom Abyss is an asynchronous multiplayer game where players are thrown into procedurally generated temples and asked to retrieve the sacred relics hidden within its deadly chambers. Perfection is the name of the game here – players only get one chance to beat the temple they spawn in, and if you fail to reach the final relic or settle for a lesser one, you won’t be given another try.

Once a player grabs the final relic, that temple will disappear forever, and their unique trophy will be theirs to show off to all their friends.

Worst: Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin 

Overall, Square Enix’s conference was a little lacklustre, with many hardcore fans feeling dissatisfied that they didn’t provide an update about much-anticipated Final Fantasy XVISo when Square Enix took the stage and showed a spin-off game, fans were disappointed to say the least – evident by the overwhelming amount of dislikes on the trailer.

However, I don’t believe the adverse reaction is solely due to fan’s disappointment of not seeing FFXVI. Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin’s trailer was a slightly cringe experience; the word “chaos” kept being repeated, the storyline seemed pretty one-dimensional, and the graphics just looked drab.

Hopefully, they take on board the vast amount of criticism they received and make the necessary changes that will make this game what the fans want.

Best: Elden Ring

You got George R.R. Martin on the story and Hidetaka Miyazaki on the gameplay. What’s not to like? The good people of FromSoftware have taken everything we loved about the Dark Souls franchise, turned it up to 11, made it an open world, and gave us horses to ride.

Call me simple, but that’s all I ever wanted.

Worst: Godfall falls onto PS4

I remember when Godfall was announced and Gearbox was hyping it up as a PS5 exclusive, declaring that the graphical output of the game needed the next-gen power. The game unfortunately didn’t meet the expectations that it set for itself – the graphics were somewhat pretty, but the narrative was thin and the gameplay incredibly monotonous.

So we were rather surprised when Gearbox announced DLC for Godfall as well as a downgraded PS4 version, especially after how much of a fuss the devs made of the game only being possible on next-gen hardware. After the Cyberpunk 2077 last-gen release fiasco, I’d have a cautious outlook on this one.

Best: Wizard with a Gun

I think what first drew me to this game was the simplicity of its name. The game just says ‘hey you’re a wizard and have a gun, ain’t that cool?’, then your imagination starts doing the rest. The game’s art direction, those long cinematic shots, and the spurts of high-intensity action peppered with a little gameplay footage made for total trailer perfection.

The game itself feels like a mix of Don’t Starve, The Binding of Isaac, and Rust, a multiplayer sandbox survival game by definition. In the trailer, we got a glimpse of some crafting mechanics and a little bit of combat. There’s not a whole lot of details about this game available, but it seems so unique that it will definitely be one that stays on our radar.

Worst: Capcom

Fans of Capcom were anticipating news of a sequel to the much loved Dragon’s Dogma franchise. Instead, they got a Resident Evil Village DLC announcement that didn’t include any details, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Monster Hunter Rise DLC, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.

Although the Monster Hunter spin-off game looks cool, there was no show-stopper announcement to remind fans why they love Capcom. Hopefully, we’ll get more news later in the year for what they have in store for us.

Best: Halo Infinite

Getting a fresh new look at Halo Infinite after it was postponed was straight-up awesome. We got to see how much they fixed the game after its initial reveal as well as Xbox’s commitment to their Game Pass service, offering the multiplayer for free to subscribers. This is hugely important in Australia where the Halo servers just aren’t that populated, so I’m really hoping to see a resurgence in the game’s popularity to help bolster those numbers.

We don’t know much about the campaign as of yet, but the multiplayer side of things looked phenomenal. 343 Industries is adding heaps of customisable options for your Spartan, a plethora of AI buddies to narrate your game, upgraded graphics, and a whole roster of new toys to play around with.

They are including battle passes into the game, however, they aren’t timed ones. This means that you can complete the battle pass at your own pace and every season’s pass will be accessible through the store. Meaning if you pick this game up two years after release, you can still access the first season’s battle pass.

Worst: Rainbow Six: Extraction

Now, I love co-op survival horror games. GTFO and Left 4 Dead are some of my favourite games of all time. I also have about 500 hours in Rainbow Six Seige. So when I say I’m not looking forward to Rainbow Six: Extraction it’s not because I’m averse to the genre, it’s because this game looks like an over-glorified DLC that’s being marketed as a standalone AAA title.

This game also looks like it took a little too much inspiration from GTFO – the mechanics and enemy design are eerily similar. And the level design just looks like it’s using Rainbow Six Siege assets with some disease particles layered on top.

At least we have Battlefield 2042 to look forward to.

Best: Nintendo… all of it

This year Nintendo brought the big guns. If you wrote down a list of everything Nintendo announced during their conference, travelled back in time a week before E3, and made a post on Reddit saying “this is what I want to see at E3 2021”, you would have been laughed at harder than we laughed at Konami’s E3 2010 conference.

We saw Metroid Dread, Mario Party Superstars, Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, and at long last, Breath of the Wild 2. We even got a brand new Super Smash Bros character that wasn’t from a JRPG. Nintendo’s lineup was filled to the brim with fan favourites that we have been waiting patiently year after year for.

The only way Nintendo could have stolen the show more is if Reggie Fils-Aimé literally stuffed it into a brown canvas bag and ran away.