As the E3 conferences themselves have wrapped up, the E3 show floors open up to media and fans alike throughout the rest of the week. Despite a lack of too many ‘megaton’ announcements, this E3 brought with it a slew of fantastic looking games spanning a whole variety of genres and art styles. It’s the best time of the year for gamers. I wasn’t able to attend the show floor itself this year but I kept a close eye on everything that was shown and boy was there a lot. We got new reveals and updated looks at previously announced games and I tallied up my top 10 favorites!
In order to qualify, a game needs to have had an in-game and/or in-engine trailer or demo that actually shows the game. A logo or CG cinematic aren’t enough. With that said, let’s jump right in.
Ashen’s really taken on a life and style of its own since the last time I saw it. Set in a ‘sunless world’, you play as a warrior seeking a home. What really captures my eye is the art style. It’s got this sort of clay-motion, muted look while being set in somewhat more realistic looking environments. I love the enemy variety, tense atmosphere and brutal combat that seems akin to something like Dark Souls. I bet co-op will be a ton of fun as well so I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more (and a release date!). Take your time guys.
9. Detroit: Become Human
Next up is Detroit: Become Human by Quantic Dream. To be honest, the only game I’ve played from the studio is Heavy Rain and I loved it. I don’t subscribe to the absurd idea that games must be designed a certain way in order to be considered a video game. A common criticism of David Cage’s games is that they’re more like movies than actual games. Nonsense. A game can be whatever the creator wants it to be. That being said, I’m so digging this. Playing as androids during a robotic uprising against human oppression sounds like a great premise for a promising story. The gameplay I’ve been seeing is grabbing my attention from the wildly diverging choices you can make to the engrossing cinematic look and tone. I’m a little bummed we didn’t finally get a release date but as I’ll say again, take your time.
8. The Last Night
Holy crap at that art direction. Beautiful. Absolutely stunning. The mixture of 8-bit and realistic visual design come together to create what I feel will be something special. The developer describes the game as “Blade Runner + delicious pixels” and I am so down for that. You play as Charlie who is a lower class individual living among the rest of society “in an era of leisure”. I’m a huge fan of cyberpunk settings so when you combine that with gorgeous art design, I’m immediately drawn in.
7. Metro: Exodus
New Metro! I loved that Microsoft and Deep Silver gave this game, and moreover this series the platform and attention it deserves. I feel the franchise as a whole is mostly underrated so seeing 4A Games kick off the Xbox conference was refreshing. I first played the Metro games in the Metro Redux collection on my PlayStation 4 years back. I never had a PC capable of running them originally (they’re highly taxing games visually). Still, I really enjoyed my time with them because of the unique setting and grew fond of Artyom (protagonist). They bring a survival angle to the FPS genre that I love and I having a vastly more open environment to explore sounds awesome to me. Bring it 4A!
6. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Assassin’s Creed needed a breather. I was feeling the fatigue by the time Unity landed and I completely skipped over Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate in 2015, though I’m aware it’s seemingly an improvement. I’ve been anticipating this one for a little simply because extra time usually allows for fresh ideas. Origins is being developed by the main Black Flag team (I liked Black Flag) and is implementing deeper RPG systems and more free-form movement and combat. I just enjoy the different takes on all the time periods over the years and ancient Egypt is looking mighty fine…mighty fine.
5. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Man oh man. What a showing. Wolfenstein: The New Order was a surprise hit of mine 3 years ago. I loved the way Machinegames resurrected the IP and made it relevant again. BJ was surprisingly quite likable and the cast of characters drew me in. Masterclass gunplay, great level design and fun enemies all came together to create something truly special and the sequel is looking like it will expand on that tenfold! BJ’s back, Anya’s now pregnant, the United States has been taken over and there’s a whole lot of Nazi scum to shoot, stab and maim in the most glorious ways possible. The visuals have been significantly dialed up to 11 no doubt thanks to the newer id Tech 6 engine and lack of compensation for older generation hardware. I’m so ready to dive back in and it comes out in four months!
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man
This is pretty much what I envisioned. A quality Spider-Man game by one of the best game studios out there. With a pedigree like Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive, Insomniac’s such a perfect pick. The visuals look fantastic, the combat seems fast, fluid and very intuitive and the scale of New York City is massive. I loved the variety in Spider-Man’s move set from spinning goons into webs to using objects in the environment to take them out. I’ve always wished more comic book superheroes would get the “Arkham treatment” as I like to call it (meaning a quality game) and I have a feeling we’re starting to see that now with Spider-Man and more in the future (Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers). I can’t wait to play this.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
The color, the worlds, the gameplay variety…what else can I say about it? It all looks wonderful. I love Mario. I’ve loved the character since the first time I laid my hands on my NES when I was 4 years old and it’s so lovely seeing him live on. Super Mario Odyssey looks like a beautiful melding of Super Mario 64 with Super Mario Galaxy and I am loving every single thing I’m seeing from it. The diversity of the worlds is so refreshing and you can possess different enemies and objects now. Possessing a giant T-Rex? In a Mario game? Yes. All the yesses. This is the day I pick up a Nintendo Switch.
2. God of War
Zeus! Your son has ret- ok sorry, wrong gods. I can not overstate how excited I am for God of War. I’ve been a massive fan since original back in 2005. I’ve played every single entry in the series (multiple times) sans the mobile game. I love the premise, I love the combat and I love the settings. God of War’s new direction speaks to me because I’ve felt the franchise needs a refresher after Ascension.
Cory Barlog and his team are definitely delivering from everything I’m seeing. Kratos has now traveled to the Norse lands of the north and now has a son, Atreus. He’s an older, more seasoned warrior with a full beard (love it) and Sony Santa Monica has decided to explore a more human side to him. I’m all for it. The newest footage from this E3 showcased some punchy, fast paced combat and a lot more enemy variety. It gave us an idea on some conflicts in the game. Are the Norse gods after Kratos? Is Atreus “cursed”, as he says? What happened to him in that trailer? Was he sick? Why does the world serpent Jörmungandr want to help the duo? Speaking of Jörmungandr…did you see that!? That’s one big snake. I need it all and I need it ASAP.
Blown away. That’s the best way to describe my feelings after that gameplay demonstration. BioWare’s my all time favorite developer because they’ve given me some of the best game experiences I’ve had over the last 20 years. From Baldur’s Gate to Knights of the Old Republic to Mass Effect, they have a way of sucking me into their worlds. The prospect of a brand new IP after 8 years (Dragon Age: Origins released in 2009) stirs so many thoughts in me. What else can they do? Where else can they go?
Anthem is a stunner. The opening shot in the market was gorgeous, the characters look fully realized and the Javelin mech suits interest me. There’s seemingly multiple types that can be fully customized to suit your play style. My jaw dropped as soon the camera panned around on that initial platform. The world looks vast, lush, beautiful and mysterious. I got an almost ‘Avatar’ feeling throughout. The ability to fly anywhere (and underwater!) is really tantalizing and it all looks like it controls so smoothly. There are definitely hints at the game’s direction from a central hub area where you receive quests and talk with NPCs to ruins (raids?) and other areas you can discover out in the wilds.
I can’t say enough on how stunning everything looked. Frostbite is definitely flexing its muscles here and it shows (my word, that storm sequence). BioWare’s been working on this game for years now with quite a bit more time to go. If they can deliver a compelling shared world experience full of loot to find and ruins and outposts to discover mixed with that trademark BioWare emphasis on a deeper story, this could be a mega hit franchise. I can not wait to see more Anthem. Take all the time you need BioWare.
**So those are the top 10 games at E3 2017 that captured my attention. How do you guys feel about it? What caught your eyes the most? Let me know in the comments! Thanks so much for checking out Shinobi Speaks.**