All eyes were on E3 in the past few weeks and our writers, Josh Langrish, Jozef Raczka, James Toal, Brian Stasiukaitis,
Jason Noyce, Dan Withey, Mitchell Lineham and me of course, give our two cents on the best games of the show, in no particular order. I’ll repeat that, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Oh, what does it matter? The comment section’s gonna look like hell anyway.
My E3 pick would have to be Cyberpunk 2077. Considering it’s been six years since it was first announced, I assumed it was never coming out. Literally the tiniest, most insignificant titbits of information from CD Projekt Red were pounced upon by rabid fans – like Half-life 3 meme levels of conjecture. The trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 at the end of the Microsoft Press conference was the icing on the biscuit for me. Initial gameplay reports are glowing; open world, fully-formed aesthetic, multi-branched questlines, a wide variety of quest-completion options, narrative-based gameplay mechanics, etc. There is that but really, I just want them cyborg strippers, alley-way black market augmentation deals, and rainy, neon-lit ramen-stand shootouts. Just gimme, gimme, gimme!
I thought: While making a superhero video game, the most essential thing a developer has to do is make the player feel like the hero. Insomniac have the experience of being Spider-man down pat. Swinging through the world is exhilarating, wielding improvised weapons with your webs feels brutal in just the right cartoonishly, comic book way, and shooting your webs has a precise, quick-draw aspect to it that makes you feel practised and professional. Simply put, you don’t just feel like Spider-Man, you feel like an experienced, Friendly Neighbourhood Spidey. In five minutes, Insomniac gives you the feeling that you’ve been web slinging for five years.
While our newest writer, Mitchell Lineham has this to say: I’m very excited for Kingdom Hearts III, but Spider-Man is releasing sooner and I’m a big fan of the web-head. I’m digging everything that Insomniac have shown off about the game including the narrative, the characters, the acrobatic combat, and the diverse array of villains hints at the Sinister Six storyline being tackled. The 7th of September isn’t too far off and I already have my pre-order for the deluxe edition in, but if Insomniac and Sony want to release a little demo before the game’s release then you won’t see me complaining!
Dying Light 2
I will play anything that has Chris Avellone’s name on it. One of the greatest writers in the medium’s history, Avellone always brings innovation to his narrative experiences. In Dying Light 2, he takes a universe I previously had no interest in and creates a complex system of factions, navigating which will be treacherous and have tangible, visible effects on the world around you and on the people you interact with. How much depth a narrative can have in a Triple-A experience is up for debate but with Avellone on the job, we might just find out.
The Last of Us: Part 2
As far as upcoming AAA titles go, The Last of Us: Part 2 is probably top dog in the anticipation steaks. And quite right too. Naughty Dog’s most prized asset kicked off Sony’s R=E3 showcase in typically brutal fashion. Where the theme of ‘love’ was central to our first outing with Joel and Ellie, we’re told that ‘hate’ will be the overriding theme this time around, and that’s been clear to see in the gameplay and cut-scene footage we’ve been shown so far. It’s also clear that this is now Ellie’s story; everything we’ve seen has her front and centre, with Joel nowhere to be seen. There’ll be violence ahead, and scenes of mankind at its lowest, not to mention plenty emotional evolvement in Ellie’s continuing (and probably tragic) story.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Smash needs little introduction, and it’s pretty obvious why people are excited about this release. Nintendo is bringing an absolutely massive roster of 65+ characters all to the Switch, which was practically built for the Smash Bros. franchise. Within that extended look, it looks like the Hyrule stage is coming back, and that alone sells me on this title. Everyone knew this game was coming, but the preview still has some surprising revelations. They’re even bringing back loads of character unlocks! This is Nintendo’s generation, and they’re continuing the dominance.
Super Mario Party
Go ahead, judge me. I’m very aware of Mario Party’s depressingly mundane past. I know they’ve tried bringing this series back multiple times. But this game looks like something a bit more than just a fun board game simulator. The trailer showed a few more in-depth mini-games that could bring a lot more exciting content to the Switch than just another Mario Party. Perhaps a couple of these smaller games would make for something akin to Wii Sports: simple games that could be picked up quickly, but entertain for hours. Sure, I’m dreaming pretty big here, but Nintendo has been on top of the Switch, and the versatility of this console allows for much greater possibilities, especially with a stupid mini-game collection like Mario Party. Don’t do me wrong, Nintendo!
Star Wars: Fallen Order
There isn’t much to go off of here, but it’s still a perfect blend to get me ready for more Lightsaber fights. The developers at Respawn, the same studio behind Titanfall 2, is building a new single-player Star Wars game, and it’s at least known that you’ll get to be a Jedi. Just those details alone is immediately reminiscent of the Jedi Knight series from days long past. A great series for its time, Jedi Knight games had some enjoyable Lightsaber combat that could translate even better to modern consoles. It will be fantastic to see such a strong studio in Respawn take a crack at the franchise that is Star Wars. Here’s hoping it doesn’t die off like Star Wars 1313.
As Hideo Kojima enters this post-Kojima stage of his career, it would be a Metal Gear-sized understatement to say there was an air of intrigue surrounding Death Stranding. Featuring an all-star cast, (Mads Mikkelsen, Norman Reedus, Léa Seydoux, and a rare acting turn from director, Guillermo del Toro), we’ve been drip-fed a few cinematic-trailers in the past year or so, but Sony’s e3 showcase gave us a first glimpse at some actual gameplay. It didn’t answer all the burning questions, but did give us some hints as to what the game’s central premise might be. Speculation aside, expect a typical Kojima-styled mix of nightmarish twists on reality, themes of bio-engineering, and a whole load of nightmarish visuals. Fingers crossed it matches expectation – then we can finally get over the fact we’ll never see Silent Hills.
No, I’m not joking. While others have scoffed at one of the most visceral, bloody and gory games of the past twenty years getting a kid-friendly make over, I just can’t help but wonder what that game might look like. Will it be a Lego-like game, where all the adult bits are adorably recreated with children’s toys or will it be a Hitman Go like experience? Or something else entirely?