The dust has settled on another E3, and after finally getting round to consuming the whole damn thing (not easy when you're a father, husband, employed, lazy) I've made some judgements on what was revealed and decided to release them upon the internet.
So, without further ado, my mostly tongue in cheek ode to this year's show…
THE 'SNAP TO COVER' AWARD FOR THE SMARTEST REFINEMENT TO A WELL TRODDEN (PUN!!) GAMEPLAY MECHANIC
Two words. Stealth Horse. Or more specifically, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s stealth horse. Move over cardboard box, there's a new Trojan horse in town, and this one's an actual horse.
THE 'IT'S A GAME THAT DOESN'T INVOLVE SHOOTING OR HITTING THINGS' AWARD FOR THE MOST ORIGINAL LOOKING NEW GAME
Octodad: Dadliest Catch was a real highlight of Sony's show for me; a game that looked light hearted, imaginative and most of all good fun to play. It was a safe haven in the storm of violence that has become E3, and as a father I can totally relate to Octodad's hap hazard attempts to do good which ultimately end in further chaos.
THE 'SPIRIT OF MOLYNEUX' AWARD FOR THE MOST INTERESTING SOUNDING GAMEPLAY INNOVATION WHICH PROBABLY WON'T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE
I really like the sound of Forza 5's 'Drivatars' - a way of using data from other real world players via the cloud to provide the opponent AI in single player modes. AI in driving games has always been a difficult thing to get right, simply because sport is about mistakes as much as it is skill, and it’s hard to program a computer to make mistakes in a realistic way.
By using data from human players though, the behaviour of the other cars should be much more dynamic and realistic, and it should make Forza 5 a better single player experience for it.
THE 'SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY' AWARD FOR THE MOST IMPRESSIVE LOOKING TRAILER
This is the hardest one to call; there were a whole host of great looking trailers this year, a few of which would have won this award with ease in years gone by. With so much to love it really comes down to personal preference, and on that evidence I have to give it to the trailer which started the show; Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Konami's new Fox Engine looks gorgeous, and the sprawling Afghanistan setting revealed in the trailer is simply breath-taking. Combined with the production values you associate with a Hideo Kojima game this made for a mouth-watering trailer.
THE 'THIS YEAR'S NECK STAB' AWARD FOR THE BIGGEST TREND OF E3
Open worlds seemed to be everywhere this year. Starting with Metal Gear Solid V, going through Sunset Overdrive, The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dead Rising 3, Assassin’s Creed 4, Watch Dogs, Infamous: Second Son, The Crew, The Division, and ending with Destiny, one thing that seems for sure is that game worlds are going to get more vast and ambitious in the next gen, and I for one couldn't be happier about it.
THE 'I BEEN TALKIN' MAN TO THE MAN IN THE MIRROR' AWARD FOR THE MOST WELL REHEARSED BIT OF BOMB DROPPING SHOWMANSHIP
It can only be Jack Tretton, who delivered the news that Sony wouldn't impose any DRM restrictions on the PS4 with all the glee of a man who knew he was going to land a heavy blow to his rival's public image.
THE 'CORVO ATTANO' AWARD FOR SNEAKING BAD NEWS THROUGH THE BACK DOOR AND GETTING AWAY WITH IT
Blink and you'd have missed it, but Sony revealed that you'll need to pay for online on PS4, just like you need to on Xbox Live currently. Cleverly, they've made it a part of the PlayStation Plus service, which most people including me already agree is great value for money, so it’s not gone down too badly. Still, it's interesting to see the difference in reaction between Sony announcing this vs. the wide spread condemnation of Microsoft's new ways to bleed money out of their users.
THE 'PEGGLE 2!!!!' AWARD FOR THE MOST UNDERWHELMING ANNOUNCEMENT
When Microsoft announced they'd be including two free games every month with Xbox Live Gold, drawing comparisons to the hugely popular PlayStation Plus service, I figured this was a smart move. Then they announce the service kicks off with Halo 3 and Assassins Creed 2, two games many Xbox owners are statistically more likely to have played already and that can be bought for a grand total of £4.50 second hand from CEX (I just checked). I know they're free and all, but seriously...
THE 'YOU ARE NOT A JEDI KNIGHT’ AWARD FOR MOST UNNECESSARILY OVERDRESSED CHARACTER IN A TRAILER
The poncho-sporting Master Chief of the Halo trailer takes the award here. How is it that a guy converted head to toe in battle armour needs to wear a fucking poncho just because he's wandering around a desert? This just came across as 343 Industries trying to look a bit mysterious and Journey-esque to me, even though as soon as they came on stage we knew we were getting a Halo trailer, so it was a bit cringeworthy to be honest.
THE 'WE'RE PAYING FOR THESE WITH YOUR FREEDOM' AWARD FOR THE BEST SET OF EXCLUSIVE TITLES
For all the bashing that Microsoft has received post event for their aggressive DRM policy, privacy concerns and expensive pricing, it's important to spare a thought for the actual games coming to Xbox One. Not that absolutely nothing else matters, but I think Microsoft do deserve credit for an impressive looking roster of exclusive titles, which as things stand outshines the PS4's offering by being both broader in appeal and larger in size.
It's not just shooters for once. They’ve also courted Japanese developers like Swery65 (D4) and Yukio Futatsugi (Crimson Dragon) to the platform while retaining their grapple on the console version of Minecraft. Yes, they're still money hungry bastards, but they know, as we do, that if the games are good then we'll give them our fucking money anyway.