Best of E3 2018

The problem with E3 is often one of hype culture. Just as a horror movie monster can never be as scary in the light as it is in our imagination, our idealized versions of games cannot compare to how they stand in reality. Because of this, it becomes difficult to measure out our excitement when it comes to games in events as hyped as E3. That said, there are always going to be a few standouts, games which appeal to us through their similarities of their predecessors, their mixing up of a traditional formula, or the purebred accomplishments of their development staff.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the E3 announcements which really stood out to us, and why we think (and hope) these could be something special. We’re also going to stick to games where we feel we get some direct or indirect look at how gameplay works. This is an interactive medium, after all, so prerendered cutscenes or footage without any context does not a great judging point make.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The third in the reboot trilogy, and a series which I’ve enjoyed far more than the originals (feel free to hate on me for that). Borrowing elements and style from Uncharted, which itself borrowed from the original Tomb Raiders, we have high hopes for the third-person action and acrobatics of our favourite British killing machine. Ludonarritive dissonance? Whatever do you mean?

Attempting to stop a Mayan apocalypse, this game puts a greater focus on stealth and stalking than in any previous entries. Using her newly trademarked bow and taking advantage of all the sneaking opportunities of the jungle, Lara brings her now honed and efficient interpersonal skills into a game for which we have high hopes. Let’s just hope the PC version this time is a little better optimized.

Just Cause 4

While we love the Just Cause games, we can’t exactly extol the virtues of its plot or characterization. These are games about blowing things up, and discovering new and amusing methods in which this might be better accomplished. We’d be happy with more of the same, but add sandstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and improved grappling functionality to the equation and you bet we’re on board for Rico’s next adventure.

Unravel Two

Actually already available, as was revealed at the tail end of the presentation. While the platforming fun and overall charm of the original drew us towards these adorable yarn creatures in the first place, it’s our love of couch coop which has us the most excited for this entry. With a heavy focus on cooperation and swinging (the rope kind), the simplistic but great looking designs of this game put it firmly in our gaming backlog.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

From From Software, the developers and originators of the soulsbourne genre comes a game set in fictionalized feudal Japan. We don’t really have much to add other than that, though we do wonder how this game will sit in relation to its seemingly conceptually similar cousin of Nioh. Samurai, ninja, demons, deaths, and frustrations, sign us up.

Dying Light 2

We went into the original Dying Light expecting a similar experience to Dead Island – a game high on promise but low on delivery. Instead what we found was one of the best first-person games of the year, and one of the best first-person melee (mostly) games of all time. While the trailer for the sequel focuses on showing us a more reactive world, it’s the minute to minute parkour, zombie bashing, and cooperative story play which really has our interest.

Developer Techland has shown themselves to be a rare case in that they have consistently offered updates and support for the original game well after release. If this new entry comes with the same level of focus on support and customer satisfaction then we could be in for another something special.

Metro: Exodus

Grim, dark, but never quite grimdark. The Metro games are rare in both their subject matter and the efficacy in which they shape this post-apocalyptic world. It also doesn’t hurt that this is one of the best looking set of irradiated ruins which we have ever seen, and that some of the mutated beasts within come across as both imaginatively unique and horrifyingly real. Probably won’t be a feel-good game, but we’re betting it will feel good to play.

Trials Rising

The latest in the platform/action games series, it’s hard to tell what is new when it comes to Trials Rising. A bizarre adventure and largely incomprehensible plot are a given, but it’s more that oh-so-frustrating/satisfying gameplay which we look forward to the most. This also ties into the presumed further evolution of the already incredibly powerful track creation tools. As one of the primary draws to the series, we can’t wait to see what the community will come up with when it gets it hands on this game early next year.

Devil May Cry 5

Forget about that Ninja Theory reboot, this time we’re getting a real Devil May Cry sequel. The trailer focuses on Nero, introduced in DMC 4, as he and his engineering genius companion take to the demon-infested streets to lay down some engine-sworded justice. As for what part the series main protagonist Dante will play, that remains to be seen, though his slightly older appearance at the end of the trailer does indicate his involvement. Even better is that we get more of that classic Dante ‘wit’ which many of us feared had disappeared from the series forever.

Rage 2

While the original game was divisive when it came to the overall structure, there was almost universal praise in one area- the combat. Seemingly having learned from their first entry, this new game seems to be more about the direct fighting than ever before, in gameplay which seems like both a refinement of the first entry and which seems to have picked up a few cues from the fantastically received DOOM.

Skull & Bones

From what we’ve seen so far, Skull & Bones looks to be a less-cartoonish online piracy simulator in the vein of Sea of Thieves. With a shared online game world, and the ability to finally sing sea-shanties with a large enough crew that it will only be slightly socially awkward, we have high hopes for this one. The only thing is that we’ve seen a small slice of gameplay so far, so what appears to be an engaging combat system could still be let down in other regards. Still, early indications make us confident enough to place this on our best of E3 list.

The Last of Us Part II

Naughty Dog is not one to disappoint, and their showing of TLOU2 at this year’s E3 continued this legacy. From what we have seen here the focus seems to be on Ellie, a few years older and a few years warier. As for Joel, we don’t quite know yet. One of Ellie’s companions does bring up her ‘old man’, which sees her wince in response, potentially carrying on the strained relationship the two share at the end of the first game, though time will tell if this little hint proves accurate. The gameplay itself looks to be more of the stealth-heavy trying-to-keep-it-together style of exploration and combat which we saw in the original. Combine this with tech improved even over Uncharted 4, and we can’t wait to get started throwing bottles and shanking infected again.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Take one of the best known and most successful game series on the planet, include every character ever included, an enormous variety of stages and items, and cater to both the casual and hardcore player bases. This seems to be Nintendo’s exact modus operandi with this latest entry into the Smash series. Nintendo is one of the best at printing money, and it’s games like this which show why. That said, we also can’t wait to see what the competitive community do with this game, both in terms of movement tech like wave-dashing and with whatever this version’s incarnation of ‘Fox only, no items, Final Destination’ might be. I’d also like to point out our prediction of Ridley in the roster which, while not actually serious, turned out to be true.

Ghost of Tsushima

No shortage of games set in samurai-era Japan recently, and we aren’t complaining. Coming with a focus on open world gameplay and precise katana murder, Ghost of Tsushima is definitely one which has us excited. The graphics don’t hurt either, especially when it comes to the impact of each swipe and stab.

Resident Evil 2 Remaster

While we have wondered if this remaster was caught in development hell, this trailer shows us that the game is not only still coming, it is shaping up amazingly well. The remaster of the original Resident Evil is held up as one of the best remasters ever created, and with this entry seemingly aiming at a more RE4 control and combat experience our anticipation is as high as it has ever been.

Spider-Man

Spider-man games have run the gauntlet in the past, from the utterly amazing PS2 Spiderman 2 to the outright dismal PC Spiderman 2. This latest entry brought to us by Insomniac shows all indications of being in the former’s camp. With the smooth and stylish traversal which we have come to expect from Spidey to the Batman-inspired combat, we suspect this could finally plug the gap in our hearts left after Arkham Knight.

Kingdom Hearts III

After playing the first two games a few time, discussing them with friends, and then looking at the non-main-entry spinoffs, we can confidently say we have absolutely no idea what is happening with the plot of Kingdom Hearts. That’s okay though, as the real appeal here comes through the ability to explore famous Disney worlds and fight with some of our favorite classic Disney and Final Fantasy heroes. Finally showing some real progress after years of doubt, Kingdom Hearts III is shaping up to be just as beautiful and baffling as its predecessors.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

We never asked for better graphics in Fire Emblem, but we still love their inclusion. The latest in a long line of tactical RPGs brings us more assurances that Nintendo really knows what there are doing when it comes to appealing to their userbase. As for the now famed love-interest systems, we don’t know, but we would guess that Nintendo know enough to include new versions of these in some way, shape, or form.

Super Mario Party

One of the few party games which really lives us to the concept of party games, the Mario Party series are as hilarious as they are frustrating and fun. Now taking full advantage of the Switch to do things with the series which has never been done before, this looks like an entry we can really get behind. At least right up until we lose our stars at the end of the long session because it happens every single time.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest was amazing for a few reasons. A Metroidvania style experience with almost watercolour fantasy visuals and gentle and relaxing aesthetic? Sign us up. Ori and the Will of the Wisps promises a similar focus on exploration, unlockables, and tight controls and navigation. All this, and it came from the much-maligned Unity engine.

What do you Think?

Which big entries have we missed that you are looking forward to, and what is it that makes them special? One of the great things about gaming is that you can never quite know what you’re in for until you get your hands on them for yourself, so being proven wrong or right for later releases is always a very real possibility. Whatever the end case for these games ends up being, we are happy in that we’ve just had one of the best E3’s in years. Only 52 weeks until the next one, maybe by that point, we’ll finally hear some more about the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

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