This was a bittersweet Electronic Three for me, as it reminded me that modern video game Triple A development is still very much a very difficult environment. Companies are very resistant on creating new games, when making a sequel is much more safe financially. And really, the fact that people just lap up things that are already familiar to them, coupled with the fact that big budget games take years and cost tens of millions of dollars to develop makes it hard to blame the fact that there are so many "So and So 4's" and "That Thing 3's" appearing on the show floor.
That said though, we still are living in a gaming environment where there are so many smaller teams coming together to develop the kind of mind blowing stuff that you can liken to the games of your childhood that made you fall in love with video gamed entertainment in the first place. These folks were at E3 as well, and damn if they didn't make their own splash.
For me personally there were so many highs, and a few lows. For instance, once again nobody announced a sequel to the Playstation classic (in my mind) Shadowman. Going on over a decade now...
|I will continue to dare to dream.|
And there again was still no MediEvil on Sony's stage.
|I am serious about this one. Please Sony. Do this one thing for me.|
But aside from my obsession with semi-obscure Playstation games, there was indeed a lot to enjoy.
This was a tough list to make. In a year that saw some mindblowing announcements of old games coming back (Shenmue III! Final Fantasy VII!), expected but still awesome sequels (Tomb Raider, Dark Souls 3), and darling indies (Cuphead, Crossing Souls, Galak-Z) I really tried to pick the stuff that stood out to me. The stuff that made me really excited. But that doesn't mean I didn't end up with a fuckload of honorable mentions, because I did.
So we are gonna do another top 11 this year because fuck a top 10! Also, because I just could not leave one game off this list. Below you will find some games from last years list that still have not come out, some new things that seemingly were stolen from my mind, and as few sequels as I could possibly include (Sorry Uncharted 4, broke my heart to leave you out.) On top of that, given that games only get announced to then inevitably be delayed, I kept it down to only two games that were on my list last year, both of which might just be out this year.
So check it out, if anything you can just watch all the trailers:
11) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
If you know me, then you know that Metal Gear Solid is without doubt my favorite gaming series ever. So placing it at number 11 might seem confusing, but I assure you there is a reason. This game is merely a few months away from release (September 1st) and I just want it more than anything. However, it would be unfair to this magnificent lineup to put it at number one again. So there.
All that said, you can drive a jeep through the Afghan desert in the 1980's with your robotic arm, accompanied by a dog wearing an eye-patch, while listening to Hall & Oates' '82 masterpiece "Maneater." Which is of course on a cassette you stole from some Russian soldiers. It's clear this game is going to be great.
10) Horizon: Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games has for their entire history been known pretty much for creating only Killzone games. You know, the games that you know exist, but just cannot find anyone who really is a fan of... That must suck to have to do that for so long. Well, good news is that they don't have to do that anymore! Instead of doing another shooter, they have made something that looks truly awesome. Two words: Robot Dinosaurs. Sold.
One of the hard parts about being a modern day games fan is that when something really sparks your interest, often it is years away from being released. Sometimes, it may even never be released. It's the nature of game development. Thankfully for me, this game is not only coming, but is finally coming this summer sometimes (if it isn't delayed of course.) Throwing out references to old school Mecha anime, sunday morning cartoons, and space exploration, this one hits me in all my pleasure zones real hard. Just look at the thing.
Pixel art. Let's talk about it. For years now it has increasingly become an aesthetic for indie devs who want to try to make their game look like a unique throwback, often while doing things that their pixel art-style could never support 20 years ago. It's a tired trend, and one that I am frankly sick of. So that's why I was just as surprised as you that this one really grabbed me. It's art is so good it almost transcends that genre, and makes me forget all my fatigue.
"What is Firewatch?" – This is a running joke in the video game community, when such an intriguing game as the titular one is teased. On the outside you play a man hired to be a fire watcher, who spends his days and nights in a park doing just that–watching out for forrest fires. Your only human contact some rowdy teens, and a radio connecting you to home base. Then someone maybe starts stalking you out there in the woods... What is Firewatch? Intriguing. Very much so.
Coming from the mind of Keita Takahashi, the man who is responsible for Noby Noby Boy and Katamari Damacy (two games that you have to go play right now if you haven't), Wattam kind of defies explanation. It's a game about friendship, emotion, and holding hands with a cloud. You can be a toilet named Steve, or a turntable named Dennis who commands sushi to party and has a button press that instantly summons dancehall airhorns. It's the kind of beautiful joy that probably made you fall in love with games when you were a child, and it is delightful. Just watch the trailer, and if you don't at least smile, you have no soul.
DOOM. FUCKING DOOM. Send your puny ass back to fucking HELL you pitiful whelp of scum! The Legion is upon you. DOOM IS FUCKING NIGH.
4) Super Mario Maker
I do not own a Wii U. Although there have been some games that have released for the Wii U that made me interested, I have been able to escape feeling obligated to buy one...until now. Nintendo has done it again. They have made the Mario game you have always wanted, even if you didn't know you wanted it. Create your own levels, over three different generations of Mario games. Instantly play other people's creations without having to download them. And in true Nintendo fashion, do it in the most simple, user-friendly, and intuitive way that you possibly could. Amazing.
3) Just Cause 3
Everything explodes everywhere always forever. This is gonna be something, and by something I mean everything blowing up constantly.
2) No Man's Sky
I have trouble explaining this game. Hell, even the developers have trouble explaining it, but if the potential of their ideas is realized, this could be one of the most mind-blowing games ever created. Something that is made by four Irishmen in a basement. Billions of planets to freely explore, near countless environments and plant an animal life to discover and categorize. It is the literal game that you have always imagined but thought to be impossible. And it is being realized quite possibly right in front of your eyes. Incredible.
1) Fallout 4
No Man's Sky is shaping up to truly be a marvel, but man, Fallout is my jam. I cannot remember a time where my jaw hit the floor so frequently in one presentation reveal. It's doing so much it is hard to even remember everything. Building your own settlements, customizing guns to your liking, recruiting companions. It's the Fallout game and clockwork world that Fallout fans go crazy for, and I am about as big of a Fallout fan as there is.
Honorable Mentions: Dark Souls 3, Rise of The Tomb Raider, Ashen, Uncharted 4, Star Wars: Battlefront, Last Guardian, Hitman, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Tacoma, Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor
So there you go. Those are the video games that really knocked my socks off. Get your wallets ready, because some of these are actually going to come out. Hopefully. I think.