Well adventurers, my quest to blog throughout the week of E3 is coming to an end. When I originally set out to write two posts a day, I figured that was a pretty crazy idea and that realistically there was no way I was going to make it happen. Somehow, though, I’ve managed to stay awake, make time, and get some serious writing done in order to cover most of the conferences and talk about my detailed thoughts concerning each presentation. As we go into next week, I’m looking forward to focusing more on the games themselves – discussing theories, questions, hopes, dreams, and disappointments. But before we get to that point, I want to take one last look backward at the week of E3 itself to talk about which games I thought had the most impressive showing at the presentation.
This list is gonna be totally subjective, based on my own level of excitement for the game and what I think looks like fun. Because of that, I’m focusing on games that actually showed some gameplay (sorry, Elder Scrolls VI), and you won’t see anything here that is a game I wouldn’t ever consider playing. As an example, Rage 2 looked like an objectively good game – nice graphics, great aesthetic, interesting combos – but I would never buy it, so it won’t be making an appearance here. I encourage you to include your own favorites in the comments of the post!
#5: SEA OF SOLITUDE
Naturally, the only EA game that I thought looked compelling in any way was the one that isn’t actually made by EA. Sea of Solitude is an indie game picked up by EA’s “Originals” program (I think that’s what it’s called) and the developer came on stage during the presentation to talk about the vision behind it. The game focuses on the theme of loneliness, and how being totally disconnected from other people can turn humans into monsters.
The game looks gorgeous with a sort of cell-shaded style that puts me in mind of games like Wind Waker, Journey, and RiME. I think the Wind Waker connection in particular is also inspired by the setting, a world that is totally flooded which the main character appears to traverse by boat. It’s a modern world in the grand scheme of things, with neon hotel signs and automobiles being some of the things swallowed by the deep waters. But fouler things live in the water too, monsters that may very well be manifestations on this young girl’s loneliness.
It’s unclear whether the protagonist is the lonely girl (and by extension, the monster) or if she’s someone else trying to help that girl out. I think that’s part of this game’s appeal, though – we know about the setting but the story feels like there is still a lot of stuff to learn. The main reason this game isn’t higher on the list is because we didn’t realistically get to see all that much gameplay, just some general running-around in the game world. I imagine there’s more to it than that, but until I know for sure it will remain at the bottom of my favorites list.
#4: GHOSTS OF TSUSHIMA
I’m not the kind of guy who cares much for hyper-realistic graphics, but I think there’s a lot of value in a game’s aesthetic. Presentation as a whole – the look, the music, the environments – can attribute to the appeal of a game, and I think Ghosts of Tsushima has a very strong style. The game’s music was lovely (the actual music before the gameplay demonstration might be up for debate, though) and I love the traditional Japanese instrumentation and setting.
The gameplay looked intense and technical, with lots of careful blocks and skillful sword flourishes demonstrated throughout the demonstration. Your character can also use the environment when attacking, using trees or buildings as cover to stealth into ideal positions or even breaking through screens to attack someone outside of a building you’re standing in.
There were a number of samurai-type games shown off at E3 this year but this one was definitely my favorite. However, as a PS4 title the chances of me having the time to play this one are somewhat slim, as I rely a lot on the portability of the Switch to get in game time. So while this game certainly looks like something I might be willing to check out, ultimately it’ll be low on my priority list compared to other titles.
#3: FALLOUT 76
I’m not a big Fallout fan. I’ve been an Elder Scrolls guy for quite some time, playing Morrowind when I was too young to even have a real grasp on the mechanics and then loving Oblivion (and kind of enjoying Skyrim I guess). I tried out Fallout 3 but stopped right after reaching Megaton, and while I got to level 10 or so in Fallout 4 something about the game just failed to grip me. Fallout 76, though, looks like a different beast.
There are a couple of main features that appeal to me about this game. First of all, the setting of West Virginia is an interesting location for the game, but even more than that I think it’s cool that they are using lore specific to that location to inspire some of the horrible monsters created by the radiation there. The giant bats that seem like dragons, the hideous jiggling spiders, and the creepy misshapen fiends all jumped out at me as really unique designs that stuck out a lot compelled to other Fallout titles. And while I can imagine that getting randomly nuked would be very frustrating, the fact that it alters the environment to create unique enemies and collectibles is a compelling addition to the core reward system.
This game is the most likely of all the Fallout titles so far to draw me in – and yet it also has the one feature most likely to push me away from a video game. Online multiplayer is very much not my scene. I play video games to relax after a tough day and to enjoy some time to myself. If I do decide to dabble in multiplayer, it’s local with family or my best friends. While I find the monsters in this title fascinating and think some of the new game mechanisms look interesting, you won’t catch me in a title with a bunch of random guys named Buttmunch69 trying to loot my corpse. If I want to get angry at morons during my free time I’ll just go driving downtown.
#2: MARIO + RABBIDS: KINGDOM BATTLE DLC
I never thought that a DLC would make me more excited than most of the brand new games showcased during the conference, but Mario + Rabbids is something special. If you’ve been around Adventure Rules for some time then you know I have a long, storied history with this game, from originally hating the very idea to changing my mind as a result of E3 2017. I ended up purchasing the game on day one and it was one of my favorite titles of 2017. I had a ton of fun with this game and I can’t wait to return to the world of Mario + Rabbids.
After watching the Ubisoft conference, I was happy to see the DLC coming soon but I didn’t feel all that excited about it. However, during day two of the Nintendo Treehouse, one of the members went into more detail about this game with the creative director and the producer (I think? Titles, man). During this deep dive into the gameplay, we got to see some of the new tactical options available as a result of having new characters and we also learned about the new types of challenges you can play. They also announced that this DLC is the size of half the original game – a full ten hours of new content to play!
I’m excited about Donkey Kong’s special abilities and the tactical options they open up. He can pick up heroes or villains and then throw them to another point on the battlefield during his move phase, allowing him to give a lot more distance to his allies and even make an attack in the process. Combining this with special skills such as a reaction shot makes it really easy to combo attacks against multiple foes, and Donkey Kong’s Bwananarang has a unique range that’s great for hitting multiple targets in one go. I’m really excited to see the full DLC in action, but there’s one game I’m just a bit more excited about. A brand new game that brings together many of the characters I know and love…
#1: SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE
Yes, I know, this is kind of a boring answer. Of course the Nintendo fanboy is gonna pick the only game that Nintendo really talked about at all during their show. But for me, this isn’t just about going along with whatever my lord and master Reggie fils-Aime says I should be happy about.
Super Smash Bros has been one of my favorite series for a long time. I have excellent memories of playing these games with other people. Whether it was the original Smash 64 with my brother, sister, and cousins; then both Melee and Brawl with my friends in high school and college; and even a bit of Smash for Wii U when a Wii-U-owning friend brought the game to get-togethers – Super Smash Bros has always been about the memories I created with other people.
I mentioned earlier that I hate online multiplayer, but local multiplayer is one of my favorite ways to play video games. This is a title that I can share with my wife. With my brother. With my best friends and their wives. It’s a game I’ll bust out at tabletop RPG sessions, at Halloween parties, or after church on a lazy Sunday. This series has brought so much fun and excitement for me over the years, and due to never owning a Wii U I have played it only sparingly for quite some time. Super Smash Bros Ultimate will allow me to finally own the latest title in this series again, and this time it’ll include literally every character that has ever been a part of this special franchise. That, to me, is a game worth getting excited about – even if it’s the only thing Nintendo actually showed at their conference.
Well adventurers, there you have it, my five favorite games showed off at E3 2018! I hope you have your own list of exciting games, and I encourage you to share it here in the comments. It’s been fun talking to you all about the stuff going on at E3 over the past week, and I look forward in the coming weeks to sharing deeper thoughts about the games I am most excited for. With that, though, I am finally taking a much-needed blogging break! Have a great weekend and thanks for reading, adventurers!