Whether it’s great stage demos, surprise announcements, or occasional moments of pure, unadulterated cringe, there’s no walking away from E3 without a few personal highlights in tow. This year’s expo was no exception, bolstered by a raft of stunning game reveals from many of the industry’s big publishers. Not only that, we caught a very early glimpse at the future of the console market as it decouples itself from the traditional upgrades.
For me, as always, E3 2016 was all about the games. Although I’d be lying if I said the prospect of playing on a new Xbox One or PlayStation 4 wasn’t enticing, there’s still plenty of mileage to be had from both as they quickly approach their third anniversary since launch. Although EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Microsoft all had great upcoming games on parade, Sony effortlessly stole the show a second year running.
Their style of press conference felt better suited for the viewers at home, bombarding them with trailer after trailer and very little idle chatter in between. Although I found the change in focus somewhat disorienting, God of War stood out most. On PlayStation 3 and its early predecessor, this was one of the few franchises truly pushing these systems to the limit. Needless to say, God of War is already looking to give Uncharted 4 a run for its money, not just in terms of visual fidelity but the ambitious scope and revised approach to narrative.
Sony managed to cram its stable with a troupe of similarly astounding titles such as Horizon, Detroit, and Spider-Man. However, my runner-up for the show actually came from Ubisoft – a previously announced game called For Honor. Building your game around a visceral melee system that feels both fluid and dynamic has always been the quickest way to my heart as a gamer.
For long-time friend and former podcast co-host, Lewis, Sony’s media briefing was also the highlight of E3 2016. Aside from those games already mentioned, he lists Days Gone, The Last Guardian, and Bound as well as Kojima’s mysterious new game, Death Stranding. As a huge fan of the series, he was happy to see God of War finally make a return, though remains somewhat conflicted about how much it’s changed. Although keen to lead Kratos on his next adventure, he wants more details in regards to the game’s narrative and mythology before fully committing.
In what seems like a common trend among our top picks, Tuffcub was also very impressed with God of War, especially in the way that Kratos is at least trying to curb his perpetual rage. Another pick that may surprise some is Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Although it looks as if it was made for the PlayStation 2, its VR-enabled approach to smart co-operative play has Tuffcub excited. Another surprise addition to that list is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare which, thanks to its space setting, can be excused for all its usual story-related silliness.
Bucking the trend, Teflon swept in without even mentioning God of War:
My pick has to be Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games really backed up last year’s reveal with another solid demonstration that shows another few sides to the game and how it plays. Maybe it wasn’t as spectacular as some other game reveals – it was, after all, following up on its own grand entrance last year – but it’s looks great and it’s a game I’m expecting to be a big hit when it releases early next year.
Dave, meanwhile, had plenty of highlights, “Dad of War” being among them yet again. He also picked out Crash Bandicoot Remastered, an announcement that’s drawn a surprising lack of attention here at TSA. Despite a somewhat relegated presence at E3 2016, Nintendo featured on Dave’s shortlist twice with Pokémon Sun and Moon and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Dystopian survival game We Happy Few made the cut too, as well as Arkane’s reimagination of Prey.
Another former podcast host, Kev also reeled off his favourite games from E3 2016, with Death Stranding being a particular highlight. Whether or not it can actually be called a “game” at this point in time is debatable, as it’s yet to enter full production, but Kev has faith in Kojima’s crazy new IP. It also helps that he’s a Walking Dead fan, given the amount of screentime Norman Reedus seems booked in for. Once again, God of War crops up with Kev being similarly excited for The Last Guardian now that it has a confirmed release date.
Miguel had similar words to say about Death Stranding and its remarkably named Norman Fetus. With the last Metal Gear, it was clear some aspects of the game were hampered due to Konami’s interference, but Miguel hopes that Hideo Kojima can realise his latest vision without being too encumbered by external bodies. Rounding out his list he also mentions Insomniac’s Spider-Man game as well as Nier: Automata and Persona 5, reaffirming his love for JRPGs.
While many of us watched E3 2016 unfold through a series of livestreams and news stories, TSA founder Alex was actually there in the flesh, mainly to work and talk about Oddworld: Soulstorm. Still, he found the time to explore some of the show’s smaller, less talked about games such as Inversus and Obduction, two upcoming indie hits that we should keep an eye on. Despite running into disappointment on the E3 showfloor, this was somewhat remedied by Sony’s luxurious media briefing not to mention Microsoft’s own, complete with dreams of an iterative console upgrade.
Whether he needs it or not, Dom is always keen to get his hands on the latest hardware. With several models of GameBoy, PSP, and PlayStation 3, it will be even easier to justify an Xbox One Scorpio if Microsoft manages to deliver a truly enhanced gaming experience. In terms of games themselves, he chose Spider-Man alongside The Legend of Zelda, Forza Horizon 3, Scalebound, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
Another mention of Spider-Man comes from Aran. Not only is he excited to see what Insomniac can do with the revered comic license, he’s also optimistic about Marvel’s new gaming initiative as a whole. Labelling it as a mix between Brave New World, 1984, and Bioshock, We Happy Few was another stand-out as well as God of War and EA’s upcoming Star Wars projects.
But now it’s over to you. What games stood out from last week’s bonanza of announcements and trailers?