E3 2016 is starting to wind down for the year and all of the major announcements, interviews and trailers have pretty much been delivered to gamers by now. Since we’re nearing the end of gaming’s week long celebration, the crew at The Gaming Outsider has taken the opportunity to share our top 5 picks for our most favorite games shown at E3 this year. We didn’t get to discuss these on our podcast episode due to time restraints so now we present it to you here for your reading pleasure. Let’s start with Scott’s picks and roll from there.
Scott Clark’s Picks:
5. We Happy Few
Around the time of the PS4 launch, Compulsion Games gave us their first title in “Contrast”. While the visual art style was aesthetically pleasing to me, I never found myself getting sucked into the gameplay. Sadly, I never finished it, but I felt optimistic about their second entry to the industry. I had actually somehow missed hearing about “We Happy Few” until watching Microsoft’s press conference at this year’s E3, but I was pleasantly surprised.
From what I saw in the trailer, the game looks to take place in an alternate England set in the 1960’s. Everyone appears to be highly addicted to a drug known a “Joy”, which keeps everyone highly sedated. Your character purposely misses a dosage and is starting to come off of the drug. He starts to see the world for what it actually it, and that revelation is very disturbing. The rest of the trailer feels like a chase sequence as your character is running from the law in an unfamiliar setting.
“We Happy Few” reminds me of “Bioshock” both in terms of the art as well as the setting, but also has a bit of “1984” mixed into it for good measure. There seems to be a great deal of mystery, intrigue, and horror mixed into what feels like the potential for an incredible experience. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this one.
I feel like I’m in the minority of people that enjoyed the original “Prey”, which launched shortly after the initial release of the Xbox 360. If memory serves me correctly, this is one of the first game I got at least the majority of the achievement points. It was a super silly story that was just a blast to play. A few years ago, the sequel was unexpectedly cancelled, and I felt a bit let down.
Imagine my surprise when, at the end of a trailer that resembled nothing of that game, the word “Prey” lit across the screen. There were no Native American characters. No aliens. No strangely erotic-shaped doors to travel through. Just a guy waking up in the morning in a futuristic apartment going through his daily routine. This routine ends with him checking his eye in the mirror, which gets increasingly redder with each repetition of his daily grind.
We have literally no context as to what that means, but I’m completely intrigued by this, especially with the name recognition from a game I loved so many years ago. This was also one of the few titles that I genuinely didn’t expect to see announced, so that surprise makes me even more excited to see what it becomes.
3. Death Stranding
Hideo Kojima is arguably one of the most interesting characters in game development. After being forced to leave his own studio (for reasons that we might never know), he kind of fell off the map. That’s a pretty big deal, considering how legendary he has come to be. When he announced the foundation of Kojima Productions, gamers lost their minds and became instantly curious as to what he was cooking up now that he was on his own.
When he walked out on stage during Sony’s press conference, I think saying that I was surprised would be an understatement. To me, this was the biggest “mic drop” moment of the entire two days. Not only was he there, but he actually had footage from a game that we all assumed didn’t have any content to show.
To be fair, we didn’t see much other than a cinematic trailer. But what a deliciously weird trailer this was! We find a character that wakes up in a barren wasteland that feels part futuristic and part post-apocalyptic. He’s completely naked, save some kind of appendages attached to his body. The freak out moment was the reveal that the character is based on real-life actor Norman Reedus. Instantly, I was reminded of “P.T.”, and couldn’t help but wonder (and perhaps hope) that this was an extension of that glorious demo we received two years ago that never came to fruition. Kojima is back, and I couldn’t be more excited.
2. God of War
Sony began their press conference in the best and most unique way possible. A full symphony orchestra began playing music that felt oddly familiar. Almost like I had heard it before, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. All was made clear when a character that clearly resembled Kratos from the “God of War” series appeared on-screen. But this Kratos looked quite a bit different. He looked weathered and strangely calm (which is completely out of character for Kratos).
We then see a cinematic trailer where Kratos takes what appears to be his young son out on a hunt. It’s at this point that God of War has been reinvented. Instead of the isometric view that we’re used to in the previous hack-and-slash games, we now have a camera over the should of our character. Kratos battles enemies in much the same manner one does while playing “Dark Souls”. The dialogue between Kratos and his son feel very reminiscent of “The Last of Us”. It’s almost as if the developers decided to start from scratch, but borrow ideas from very successful franchises. And that’s not a knock on this game in any way; to me, this is what a rebooting of a popular franchise should be.
“God of War” is easily one of my most-anticipated games at this point. Not only does the game look gorgeous, but it looks to pack that emotional punch we only received at the very end of the previous games. Couple that with the insane reaction from the crowd during this press conference, this games makes one of the most memorable moments during a conference in many years.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
If you know me at all, you’re probably not surprised that this game is at the top of my list. The Legend of Zelda has been my favorite game series since the SNES era. I even have a collection in my basement of anything and everything that I can find associated with the games. This has been my most anticipated game for several years. Nintendo has been very tight-lipped about the next Zelda title, only giving us brief gameplay glimpses.
They remedied that during their live stream this week by, not only finally revealing the name (“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”), but also literally showing us the opening cinematic to the game followed by a TON of gameplay. While it may be so frustrating to get so little up to this point and suddenly get an outpouring of information, it would be hard to say that I wasn’t quite a bit giddy watching this game in action.
The game looks simply glorious. There’s plenty familiar, but also some new mechanics that give the game some freshness without beating us over the head with annoying novelties. For instance, the player now has a jump button, which is a huge departure from this vast series. The sheer scope of this game gets me very excited.
Despite my issues with Nintendo’s decision lately, nothing got me more pumped and feeling like a kid than seeing the good old Master Sword buried in stone behind a wall of mist. There’s no other game from this expo that I want to get my hands on and play right now than Zelda. It’s going to be a long time to wait, but I’m optimistic that it will be totally worth it.
Zach Anderson’s Picks
5. Titanfall 2
Yes, I knew Titanfall 2 was coming. WE ALL KNEW IT WAS COMING and still this trailer blew me out of the water. The additions of the grappling hook seemed very smart and promises to open up another level of traversal and strategy for the player outside of the Mech (which is secretly the best part of the original Titanfall shhhhh). The glaring hole in the original game was the lack of a single player campaign. Well they appear to have answered that criticism with what appears to be a robust campaign that I hope builds out the universe of Titanfall more completely.
4. Gears of War 4
Count me among the many that were very disappointed by the recent multiplayer beta for GOW4. The game appeared very rough graphically and there didn’t seem to be much, if any, innovation in the gameplay from GOW3. Those concerns melted away watching the live play through to start Microsoft’s conference. The world The Coalition has created looked amazing, creepy, and alive. During this demo a wind storm was raging through the city and it dynamically changed the battlefield as objects such as bombed out cars ripped across the screen. Let’s hope the rest of the game looks and plays so smoothly.
3. We Happy Few
The promise of E3 is that by the end of the press conferences I’ll be absolutely dying to play something that I had no idea even existed before the show started. This year that game was We Happy Few. What we were shown was an Orwellian world where the populace is kept drugged on “joy pills” and what happens to one man’s vision of the world once the drugs wear off and he sees the world for what it really is. This game looks creepy, engrossing, and everything I want from a “bioshock-ian” adventure.
2. Death Stranding
Kojima Productions newest project was unveiled during the Sony press conference, and what was shown was haunting, beautiful, vexing, perplexing and left me with no idea of what this game actually is. Better Kojima fans than me are already dissecting the imagery, music, background items… literally everything for any clue or sign of what this game actually is. Whatever Death Stranding may be it is sure to be unique and this trailer was a reminder of how intriguing Kojima’s games can be.
1. God of War
God of War was another game that I was pretty sure was coming, but wow, I never expected it like this. What I saw during this live demo was a series that has grown up with me. They appear to have evolved the gameplay to include a more “Last of Us” camera angle and leveling system. Beyond that though I saw more character development out of Kratos in the opening 10 minutes than I had throughout 4 previous game. While he appears to be a different iteration, he also is no longer anger personified. He actively stops himself from scolding his child as he teaches him to hunt, but that anger is still there under the surface. I can not wait to play this game and see how far this treatment of Kratos as character goes.
Josh Faulkner’s Picks
5. South Park: The Fractured but Whole
I’m a fan of South Park and the satire they provide in each goofy episode. Even though South Park games have always been quite crummy, I absolutely loved Obsidian’s South Park: The Stick of Truth. It is easily one of the crudest, raunchiest video games I’ve ever played and it kept me fully entertained by providing tons of satire of social media, the fantasy genre, and video game cliches. The Fractured but Whole seems to deliver all of this again while beefing up the mediocre battle system and delivering a lot of satire on comic book films. I can’t wait to laugh, cringe and face palm through this game just as I did with The Stick of Truth.
Knowing that the creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune, and part of the team who created Metroid Prime are creating an action game together, I was already excited for what they had up their sleeves. Microsoft finally showed off gameplay of their exclusive action title ReCore during their press conference at E3 this year and once I saw it in action I immediately had flashbacks of classic Sega game design. It reminded me of the first time I played something like Gunvalkyrie on the original Xbox or Vectorman on the Genesis due to it’s environment aesthetics and fast-paced shooter gameplay. The gameplay seems to be rooted in some classic game designs but mashed with modern visuals, controls and unique ways to solve puzzles. I have a feeling retro gamers will get a kick out of this game and I’m very excited for it. Plus it releases in only two months and holds a price tag of $39.99. ReCore may be this year’s Rare Replay, as in a budget title that gives old school gamers something to be excited about.
3. God of War
I personally haven’t been excited for a God of War game since the third game released on the Playstation 3. We’ve received six of these games so far and all of them play very similar. The only thing we get different each time are massive set pieces. Let’s face it — the God of War series was in dying need of a resurgence. Thankfully, Sony Santa Monica understood this and delivered a fresh, drastically new God of War entry by showcasing a more human Kratos fighting his way through norse mythology. The game looks absolutely stunning and the change in gameplay, camera perspective and focus on narrative seems very exciting to me. I feel like this should have happened two God of War games ago.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo has teased the new Legend of Zelda game ever since the Wii U launched and they rarely ever give us anything to satisfy our curiosity or thirst for a new adventure from Link. This year Nintendo may have went overboard and showed a bit too much of the new Zelda title, but at least we know exactly what it is now. Subtitled as Breath of the Wild, the new Zelda title looks absolutely amazing sporting an art style similar to a Studio Ghibli film and including a full-fledged open world for the first time in a Zelda game. A lot has changed here and this is something the series was in dying need for, but also Breath of the Wild plucks elements from the original Legend of Zelda and implements them into this new title too, like being greeted by an old man who starts your journey as well as having the option to go anywhere and do anything right from the beginning. I just wish we could play this game this year and not have to wait for the launch of the NX…
1. Death Stranding
Kojima strolled on-stage at the Sony press conference and said “I’m baaaack” and the crowd went wild. What Kojima showed us next was something that was completely unexpected. No one thought that Kojima would be showcasing his first game as an independent developer yet, but he totally did. Death Stranding is an odd, terrifying and beautiful presentation that includes actor Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead fame as the protagonist. Even though we only received a trailer running in-engine with no gameplay, the trailer was mind blowing and had our imaginations running wild. I cannot wait to see more from Death Stranding and what weird creations Kojima has in store for us. Death Stranding is my favorite announcement of E3 2016 and one of the biggest “WTF” moments from any E3 that I can recall from my memory.
5. God of War
I have always been a fan of the spectacle of God of War, but I’ve never enjoyed the character, Kratos. I’ve felt that he was a one sour note character that was never appealing to me. Well, this announcement trailer/gameplay showed us more depth of the character than all the games combined. I can’t wait to play this game. It’s going to be a blast to see what else they have in store for us.
I understand that this leading man looks like a bit ridiculous, but I don’t flipping care. This game looks like the epitome of fun for me. The visuals looked stunning, and I loved the notion of having a giant dragon that chills with you. It’s basically Pete’s Dragon mixed with Final Fantasy. I’m down. Over the top bosses and RPG elements offer me something that I’ve been waiting to play since last year’s premiere of this game.
3. Detroit: Become Human
I’m one of those people that loved Heavy Rain, but I greatly disliked Beyond: Two Souls. However, the next game by Quantic Dream seems to be something special this time around, and I coundn’t be happier to see that it feels like something different than anything else they’ve offered us before. The game will obviously be gorgeous, and I just want them to make sure the choices in the game matters. From what we’ve seen, that will be the case ten fold.
2. Death Stranding
Look, I’m a huge Kojima fan. (Ask the guys. They continue to make fun of it.) I have no idea what is going on, I have no idea what the story is, and I don’t flipping care. It looks like craziness, it’s going to be gorgeous, and Norman Reedus is in the game, and that’s all I need to know.
I can’t believe this game is happening! Spiderman is an incredible possibility of a game, and I think Insomniac is perfect for the job. It’s not just from a standpoint of gameplay, but I think they will hit the right notes when it comes to banter and humor from the webhead. The combat looks deep, and the visuals look incredible. This announcement made me giggle like a school girl because Spiderman is such an important character to me, and I believe that this could be the first game that is actually great since Spiderman 2.