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The best and worst of E3 2016 Noteworthy announcements from gaming’s biggest week

Last month in Los Angeles, gaming media, developers and fans converged on the biggest stage gaming has every year, E3. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) allows video game companies to share their latest projects, newest technology or upcoming features with the crowds of attendees. The entire video game community tunes in to see if their favorite companies or game franchises have news for them.

E3’s biggest surprise

During Sony’s news conference, we saw two familiar names come together in an unexpected way when Insomniac Games (“Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive”) announced it will develop a PlayStation 4 Spider-Man game. The gameplay shown was short but the reaction of the crowd during the video was indicative of excited gamers.

The iconic superhero has had an interesting history in films and video games. Sony Pictures has owned the rights to Spider-Man since 1999. His appearance in Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is the first time he has returned to Marvel since before the turn of the millennium.

It’s possible the video game, which will be a Sony PS4 exclusive, had something to do with Sony Pictures returning the web-slinging hero to Marvel.

Biggest disappointments

A game that dazzled and impressed at last year’s Microsoft E3 conference, “Scalebound,” was not as good-looking as it was first shown. The game that’s coming exclusively to Xbox One sure has promise. The game’s designer, Hideki Kamiya, has seen great success with games like “Bayonetta,” “Devil May Cry,” “Resident Evil.” However, my hype for this game was taken down a few notches after seeing more gameplay. The fighting and combat looks just “OK” and from a company that has made games where the combat was the best part of the title, it’s a disappointment.

The boss battle shown looked kind of cool, but also kind of lacking. A lot was going on, but nothing that really changes the game or indicates that Kamiya’s game is one of his best. Even though he is on record with The Telegraph, a UK outlet, calling it the “biggest game of his career.”

Another issue I had with the game is how corny the writing is. It almost takes you out of the moment as the generic-looking character repeats things like “Let’s do this!” the whole fight.

Japanese game developers have so much to offer to the landscape of gaming. I think Xbox is doing the right thing by trying to attract talented developers to bring ambitious games to the West. However, I think that “Scalebound” might be missing the mark a bit and might be a game to pick up in bargain bins.

Most anticipated

“Horizon: Zero Dawn” was back at E3 after dazzling crowds in 2015. The action-RPG, which features mechanical creatures that serve as wildlife, enemies and resources, got a healthy amount of gameplay. The demo available began to detail how the combat system would work. More was shown of the game’s protagonist, Aloy, as she exited a safe zone and explored a nearby area. The combat was not only fluid but the types of weapons you can craft to take down dangerous machines are awesome. The game was colorful, the world looked large.

Sony’s first-party lineup has been weak, to put it kindly. The console has been selling well, but probably not because of the games exclusively on PlayStation. With games such as “Horizon: Zero Dawn,” “Spider-Man” or “Days Gone,” the console seems to be changing as it’s getting some excellent exclusives soon.

Trying to compare “Horizon” to something else is challenging because it combines elements of existing games while at the same time looking like a completely fresh concept. Imagine “Far Cry” with RPG mechanics like those in “The Witcher,” and don’t forget the mechanized enemies. Yeah, I think it might be beneficial to just play it.

Most likely to bomb

When you make a pair of well-received games in a row such as “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus,” the pressure is definitely on. Team Ico, the development team behind those PS2 classics, has been quite a mystery for a while. Its first two games were re-released on the PS3 in HD but other than that, it has been nearly a decade since it finished a game.

“The Last Guardian” is the name of the game that will finally, and I mean finally, get in the hands of gamers this fall. The studio and game have been at the center of delays and rumors for many years. There had been rumblings that the game had been completely scrapped and before it resurfaced again, it started to feel like the game would never come out.

Now it’s only a few months away from its October release. At E3, a small amount of the game was shown during Sony’s news conference and nothing to go crazy over. The game will probably be decent, maybe even good. However, with nearly 10 years of excitement surrounding the title, it may be a victim of its own vices and unless it’s one of the games of the year, it might disappoint many who are wondering “What the hell happened with this game?”

Give us this game already!

Maybe this is just an extension of the most anticipated section but I wanted to talk about another game I really can’t wait for and that is “Cuphead.” This game has one of the coolest art styles I have seen. The animation is like a 1930s cartoon with beautiful colors and detailed scenery. The character and level design in this 2D platformer really blew me away the first time I saw it.

Every time new gameplay is shown from “Cuphead,” it’s usually a well-made boss battle. It’s coming exclusively to Xbox and it really has a hit on its hands. Local cooperative gameplay is one of the selling points of the game and I think friends will have many hours of an amazing release ahead of them. This one can’t come soon enough.

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