I don’t know if it’s just me, but E3 felt a little underwhelming this year in terms of actual game reveals. Most of the big names showed titles that we’re already well aware of, so while I was eager to see the new gameplay, I wasn’t wowed by anything I wasn’t expecting—with a few exceptions.
A lot of the top developers have been working to refresh long-standing IPs, which has understandably taken a lot of time and innovation on their part. There were still plenty of fresh features shown off, so below I’ve compiled a list of the most promising games to come.
The Obvious Hits
Final Fantasy XV
The Square Enix boy band got to engage in several activities we’d only heard about until now, the most exciting being chocobo riding. Kweh! The cityscapes were particularly beautiful and full of fun little discoveries, such as artists who will paint your portrait and hidden areas that lead players to unique sidequests.
The 4x strategy giant was in good form with Firaxis’ demo narrated by Sean Bean, who managed to survive for its entire duration. There was nothing that came out of left field, but I’m still curious about the new, sprawling city designs and how they’ll affect where players arrange each of their districts.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The focus of Nintendo’s E3 showing was 90% Zelda, but fans weren’t complaining. Stunning vistas were teeming with ways Link could interact with the world, from scaling mountains to taming wild horses and hunting/scavenging for food. Fans are curious if the game will really have enough content to fill the massive world Nintendo has created, but at the least it will be easy on the eyes.
As exciting as the Persona 5 trailer is, it’s not “new” per se. English audiences were able to view this video with fan translations about a month ago. Still, it’s good stuff! The dungeons seem highly varied compared to earlier games, and as usual, it’s bursting with stylish anime sequences and colorful battles.
Pokemon Sun & Moon
I think the best thing we heard about Pokémon was the release date: November 18th. In addition to this good news, four new pokémon were introduced, including Pikapek, Yungoos, Grubbin and Magearna. The biggest addition to Sun & Moon seems to be a new game mode called Battle Royal which involves 4 players in a fight to the dea—er, KO.
Mass Effect Andromeda
We finally got a look at the new protagonist in Mass Effect. Her or his name is Ryder, and they will be a less-seasoned character than Shepard was. The goal is to make players undergo the traditional “hero’s journey” as they find their place in a new galaxy. Most startling was the return of the Mako, the exploration vehicle everyone hated in the first game. Supposedly it’s faster and allows for customization this time around, but I’m reserving judgment.
Promising New IPs
Horizon Zero Dawn
I am so hyped for this game. A dedicated female lead, a Far Cry-like open world, plus smart and tactical combat? Not much else I could want. There’s even going to be crafting and a certain level of interactive dialogue as shown by the response wheel. I don’t have much else to say except that I can’t wait for Feb 2017.
This game certainly wins the “weirdness” award by a mile. The brief teaser for Kojima’s new IP didn’t show much except for a distraught Norman Reedus crying over a baby in the midst of a whale graveyard. Follow-up interviews have revealed a bit more, with Kojima saying he wants to focus on “ropes that tie people together” rather than “sticks that keep us apart.” Okay then. As strange as that sounds, the man is good with gameplay, so I’m dying to see more.
I was surprised and excited to find this game! Ever Oasis is a new title from Nintendo for the 3DS which involves dungeon crawling, puzzle solving and city-building elements. It’s reminded more than a few people of Dark Cloud, which was a fantastic RPG that involved traditional exploration in addition to rebuilding a town full of charming characters.
Gravity Rush 2
I’ve never played the first Gravity Rush game, but it’s a cult hit for a reason. The unique gameplay is shared by its successor, in which the protagonist Kat leaps, falls and flies through the air as she bends gravity to her will and battles zany monsters. The level design is beautiful and the movement seems like a whole lot of fun, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one.
Knights, vikings and samurai collide in this hack and slash action game from Ubisoft. The biggest surprise? This thing has a campaign mode! I was excited enough for the game’s multiplayer potential, but we’re getting an in-depth story mode, too. Did I mention that aside from online gameplay, there’s split screen for local co-op? This will be a must-have for anyone who loves strong combat and/or local multiplayer.
The former Journey devs have been working on this underwater exploration title that promises a dazzling world, interaction with sea creatures and mysterious discoveries. I’m still not really sure what to expect after watching the trailer, but I feel confident that the people behind such a fantastic game deserve my optimism.
Hit or Miss
God of War
So, God of War is back, and it’s gotten a major revamp. The devs have pulled Kratos from Greek mythology (probably because he’s killed every major figure in it) and placed him in a Norse world. Plus he’s got a son. Kratos is a less violent character than before, which is disappointing to me because I enjoyed releasing his unbridled rage in earlier games. Even the feel of gameplay has changed due to a tighter camera. It’s probably going to be good, but it feels so different that I don’t know what to think.
Detroit: Become Human
People are divided on Quantic Dream. Personally, I like their unique handle on games that are essentially interactive movies, but it’s true their writing can be a little rote and fall back on stereotypes. With Detroit: Become Human, they’re tackling the Bladerunner-esque theme of what happens when androids crave “personhood” but humans want them to remain 2nd-class citizens. Whether or not the game appeals to you is dependent on if you think the format is worth $50.
Surprisingly, this game comes from Dontnod, developer of thoughtful titles Life is Strange and Remember Me. The violent trailer introduces Jonathan Reid, a WWI survivor, doctor and vampire. Throughout the game you’re forced to balance your desire to help people with your primal craving to suck them dry. It’s the first time Dontnod is tackling combat and a more typical white/male protagonist. That doesn’t mean it’s doomed to failure, though I wonder how such a departure from their previous work will play out.
For a full list of games shown at E3, click here. I know I left out a few big titles like Dishonored 2 and Resident Evil 7 (in an attempt to keep this list sanely-sized). What was your most anticipated game, and did it meet your expectations?
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