E3 has come, and gone. The conferences, and bombshells have all been dropped. So there isn’t much to do but wait to see what these new games, and products are like when they finally hit store shelves. So here are the ten titles I watched along with the rest of you. These are the ten that I found the most impressive. I may not get to buy, and review them all. But they impressed me anyway. If you have the platform they’re on, I do hope you’ll keep an eye on them.
10. Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)
For awhile people have complained about Microsoft relying too much on third-party games. So this year they answered the criticism with a number of first-party announcements. The biggest one in my opinion is Sunset Overdrive. This game looks really cool, appearing to mix elements of Dead Rising, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater. The animated designs of the characters are quite nice, and the Punk motif fits nicely. It looks brisk, and a lot of fun.
9. No Man’s Sky (PlayStation 4)
Hello Games showed off their game during the Sony conference, and colored me intrigued. No Man’s Sky is one of the nicer independent games I’ve seen in a while. Being able to pilot a ship, and explore the universe is cool enough, but the procedural generated worlds means it will be a different experience every play through. At least in the sense that the same parts won’t appear in the exact same order. Even still, the game’s distinct aesthetics, space battles, and involvement with other players look impressive.
8. Rainbow Six: Siege (XB1/PS4/PC)
Ubisoft showed off a number of things between the Sony, Microsoft, and their own conference. Not the least of which was FarCry 4. But Rainbow Six: Siege hit it out of the park for me. R6:S is a return to form for the series. When Red Storm Entertainment originally started this series it was a real, unadulterated, tactical shooter. R6 games meant that players would get their friends together, look at a map, and plot a way into the property. It was about taking down the terrorists holding innocent people hostage. It was tough as nails too because one or two hits killed you. It wasn’t perfect, sometimes inconsistent A.I. could make a mission difficulty fluctuate. But on the whole, there was little else like it. So it was disappointing to many players when the series went into the linear, cover shooter route. With Siege, Rainbow Six, seems to be Rainbow Six again. Plotting out strategies, going in, and rescuing people in high risk missions.
7. Witcher 3 (XB1/PS4/PC)
I must admit I never got into the series. I know, I know. Blasphemy right? Well the footage, and news about this title will likely change that. Witcher 3 is supposed to be an even larger open world than some of the biggest sandbox games. More impressive is that it supposedly has no loading screens in the process. You’ll also be tasked with hunting monsters. There are over 100 hours of missions between the main storyline, and any side quests you might choose to do. Add in the fact that Valve already has a bundle up giving buyers all three games (When the game comes out), and you have more incentive. If the reputation from the first two games are any indication, this too, will excite fans of RPGs everywhere.
6. Super Smash Bros. (Wii-U/3DS)
What can I say? It’s Smash Brothers. It’s going to have Mega Man, and Pac-Man, as guest characters. A bunch of new characters. Miis aren’t going to be lame decoration fodder. They’ll actually be viable, and work as a Create A Character mode. It’s going to work with those spiffy looking Nintendo toys, so you can buff your characters. It will have online matches again. On Wii-U It will support an adapter you can plug Gamecube controllers into. It’s looking to be one of the most fun versions of Smash Bros. yet.
5. Scalebound (Xbox One)
All we saw so far was a trailer. I know that I’ll get heat for having in this spot. But Platinum Games has yet to truly disappoint me. Keeping the difficult, but rewarding action game genres going is their bread, and butter. A difficult, but rewarding action game with dragons? I think it’s going to be worth looking into if you have an Xbox One.
4. Bayonetta 2 (Wii-U)
Bayonetta was by most accounts awesome. It ran brisk, had colorful, fast action, and was hard. While the 360 version did perform better than the PS3 port, plenty of people enjoyed it on both of those systems. Last year, many fans were shocked to see that Nintendo had saved the sequel from development hell, by securing an exclusivity deal. This year they shocked us again. Because now, not only are we going to see Bayonetta 2 on the Wii-U, we will also be seeing Bayonetta 1 bundled with it at no extra charge. Plus fancy Nintendo themed costumes. The latest trailer showed off more exciting game footage.
3. Grim Fandango (PS4/PSVita)
“Hey! Grim Fandango isn’t NEW!” Some of you will shout. But this is actually a pretty big deal. A lot of folks missed out on this gem. Some because they didn’t play those classic Lucasarts adventure games on PC. Others because they weren’t alive yet. But Grim Fandango getting a re-release AT ALL was a shocking enough announcement. The fact that it was secured by Sony helping Tim Schafer work out a deal with Disney was another. I’m sure some folks will bemoan this news the way others did when Nintendo secured Bayonetta 2. But the only way you’re getting the PC game now is second-hand. So if you do have one of these Sony platforms you really should see what all of the hoopla is about.
2. Mortal Kombat X (PC/XB1/PS4/360/PS3)
I’ve always enjoyed Mortal Kombat games. Even the middling ones we saw on the PS2/Xbox/GCN were fun to play despite not hanging with the likes of Tekken. But I haven’t been excited for a Mortal Kombat since Mortal Kombat Trilogy promised me I could use every character. Then broke that promise when I found out it meant the PC version. Anyway, the last Mortal Kombat game, took me by surprise. Nether Realm learned from Capcom that people loved Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat for their 2D mechanics. So Mortal Kombat 9 took Street Fighter IV’s approach, and was a spectacular game for it. Mortal Kombat X is continuing that trend, and trying to expand its lore. MK9 pulled a JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, rebooting things in an alternate time line. A lot of characters died, or were altered. In MKX we will see new characters, and the continuation of the Shinnok story arc. Hopefully, MKX delivers another home run.
1. Splatoon (Wii-U)
A lot of you will call me crazy with this one. But Splatoon looks really fun. Also different. All of the time on forums everywhere we see people decry the lack of innovation in shooters. Leave it to Nintendo of all developers to shake it up. It isn’t a super gritty war shooter. It isn’t a bloody gore fest. It isn’t a paintball simulation either. Instead it’s a game that does something unconventional. Shooting the environment is the goal. Oh sure, you will have to shoot at the opposing team too. But the goal is to paint the landscape your team color. When the other team tries to stop you, that is when you dispatch them. There is also a cool mechanic in which you can turn into a squid, and travel through your own ink quickly. Or hide in it to stealth attack enemies. Or any other number of strategies. I for one hope it turns out well, and really takes off.
Don’t worry, I know there’s a lot of other stuff they showed this year. You might think I’m nuts for getting more psyched about some of these than some of those. In any case, it looks like next year there will be some great stuff to play.