This year I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend one of the biggest gaming expos in the world. When Nintendo sent me the email with the invitation to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, I was shaking with excitement. This had been an event that I have watched since I was kid and had dreamed of going to someday. Without this invitation, tickets cost around $1,000.
It was an exhilarating three day experience where I got to see some of the biggest games well before their launch date and was able to try emerging technologies such as virtual reality headsets. Each of the big three companies, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, all had extravagant displays of their upcoming titles. These displays included light shows, giant projections, rows of consoles demoing upcoming games, and Sony had a two story building that featured their upcoming VR headset. There were two things, however, that really caught my attention.
My main goal of E3 was to at least play the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was the only game that Nintendo made playable this year at the event, and I needed to know just how good it was going to be. The wait in line was around an hour and a half, but it didn’t feel that long because they had the voice of Mario going down the line taking pictures with everyone. When we finally got inside of the Nintendo exhibit, the atmosphere was incredible. There were huge statues of monsters from the game, model buildings, ambient weather noises, and rows of hundreds of TVs for people to play the demo. It was a 35 minute demo that allowed players to have a small taste of what was to come in the full game. The wait was definitely worth it as I was allowed to explore a small part of the map and play the first 15 minutes of the story. Its art style looked incredible and the combat was satisfying when using the sword or bow. Unlike other Legend of Zelda games, this game allows you to craft items and encourages the player to explore which adds to the game’s replay value substantially. The release of Legend of Zelda is still a year off so I’m excited to see what else they will bring to the table when it is closer to release.
The second thing I needed to experience myself was Sony’s new VR headset for the Playstation 4. Their trailers and gameplay footage made the device look like it was capable of high definition gameplay while keeping a steady framerate. Unfortunately, the games look nothing like the trailers or at least the one I played didn’t. The graphics were pixelated, fuzzy, and everything had a jagged edge to it. The games looked like they were early Playstation 2 graphics at best. It was disappointing because I really wanted to love the headset and have a new way to experience my favorite form of entertainment. Virtual reality is supposed to break down the walls between the game and the gamer, but instead of being fully immersed in the experience, I was just wondering where the amazing graphics that I saw advertised were. All of the negatives aside, it was really neat how the headset tracked my head movement when I looked around or got closer to an item. Playstation’s VR headset will be released October 13, 2016. This only two months away, and I don’t think it warrants the $400 price tag it has especially after what I saw.
There were dozens of games that I’m looking forward to playing again, and Breath of the Wild lived up to my high expectations. Virtual reality for consoles on the other hand still needs a year or two in development. It could have just been the games that I played were bad, but they shouldn’t have showcased anything that might have made me feel that way especially when the new headset costs more than the console itself. E3 was a truly incredible experience, and I hope I’m lucky enough to go again next year.