The sheer number of games at E3 this year was pretty daunting. From surprise reveals and long-awaited wishes fulfilled to yearly franchises getting their regular installments, it’s impossible to cover everything at the show.
Whether you like shooters, role-playing games, Nintendo’s unique brand of fun, or whatever else, there’s something for you.
Here are the ten games that we walked away the most excited about. Our only rule in choosing these was that we had to have some kind of live gameplay — something more than a teaser. After you check out our list, hop into the comments to tell us what has you excited for this fall and beyond.
Dark Souls III
Dark Souls III wasn’t a surprise. We knew it would come eventually. What was a surprise, though, is just how far along it is. The coppery taste of Bloodborne hasn’t even left our mouths yet, and already we’ve seen not just a teaser for but actual gameplay of Dark Souls III.
What’s even crazier is just how good it looks. The incredibly dangerous knight we encountered during the hands-off preview session was impressively detailed, and the slowly disintegrating dragon corpse, its ashes flaking off and floating away, exemplified director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s “withered beauty” concept perfectly.
The demo was also an assurance that Bloodborne is simply Bloodborne and not indicative of the future direction of the series. Combat is slowed way down and feels much more intimate, just how we like our Dark Souls.
Dark Souls III looks like it might end up being the formula perfected, and we’re excited to see it progress up to its release next year.
Fallout 4 looks really, really great, doesn’t it? And, before you start firing off all that hate about graphics, please realize that those complaints don’t even register for me with this game. Massive open world games with insanely complex systems have to be trimmed down somewhere, and if that means iffy character models in Fallout 4 in order to customize power armor and completely build my own bases, I’m down.
Bethesda showed off some really, really interesting things with Fallout 4. This won’t simply be a wasteland crusade game with freak and monster murder. No, we’ll be scavenging in a completely new and unique way for the Fallout universe, and we’ll do it with a dog that can’t die.
My brain starts to ache when I consider the potential amount of time I’ll be able to put into this game. I’m not even sure I can handle it.
And it comes out this year, too. That bit was amazing.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
While much of the hype surrounding this year’s E3 is around the return of the familiar — Final Fantasy VII, The Last Guardian, and even Xbox One’s backwards compatibility — one of the most pleasant surprises was one of the new properties unveiled during Sony’s E3 press conference, Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Horizon is the first non-Killzone game from developer Guerrilla Games in just over a decade. We’re excited to see the team work on something that isn’t a grim-dark science fiction shooter. This is a fairly big departure for them despite the continued focus on combat, and we can only imagine how eager the team is to sink their teeth into something different.
The totalitarian architecture of Killzone has been swapped out for an earth reclaimed. Cities lie in ruins, skeletons of buildings long disintegrated covered in local flora. The humans that remain in this post-post-apocalyptic world have formed tribes as they struggle to survive. There’s just one twist: much of the fauna are mechanical beasts called things like watchers and grazers. Or, in the case of a particularly big, mean one, Thunderjaw.
The trailer shown at E3 had us intrigued, but the live gameplay preview was what really captured our hearts.
The main character, a woman named Aloy, was cool and capable as the demo showed her taking down a watcher from her hiding place in the bushes and then laying and springing a trap for a herd of grazers she needed to harvest some resources from. The duel with the monster called Thunderjaw showed off the more strategic elements of the game’s action.
We can’t wait to see what Guerrilla does with the property and look forward to its release sometime next year.
Truth be told, I went into E3 not all that excited for Mario Maker. Not to upset the Nintendo faithful here, but I just didn’t see the point of making levels inside the game.
Then the Nintendo World Championships happened, and I got to see, full tilt, what insanity Nintendo had on tap for Mario Maker. Sure, I can build my own levels. I’m more excited, though, to see what the community creates and the things that show up on the Iit’nternet because of all that.
The impossible levels are one thing, but the absolutely bonkers things people will come up with is what excites me most. My hands-on time revealed that, predictably, Nintendo will offer a swathe of levels they’ve created themselves. One of them, for instance, was an automatic Mario level that tasked players with not pressing a single button. Marrio was shot, catapulted, hit and slid all the way from the start to the goal in this fashion, and it was great.
More of that, please.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain didn’t exactly follow in the footsteps of predecessors. Konami didn’t rent any prime real estate during the big press conferences. Creator Hideo Kojima was nowhere in sight. Just a single six minute trailer released quietly on YouTube. That’s it. If this is indeed the last year Metal Gear Solid is to show up at E3, then its sayonara to the gaming industry went out on a very low-key note.
Don’t expect the game to come out with the same ripple. This six minute trailer, edited, directed, written by the man himself, is just off its rocker, totally insane and shocking with its visuals, but it is the narration I am in love with. Themes of controlling the flow of information and communication have been the core of Metal Gear Solid’s preachiness dating back to Metal Gear Solid 2.
Whoever this faceless soldier is, he seems like the kind of villain we can sympathize with, something the series has sorely lacked since Metal Gear Solid 3. Not to put him on the same level as The Boss, but I can’t wait to hear what makes this demon tick.
Metal Gear Solid V brings the franchise’s canon full circle to where the very first Metal Gear game kicked off in the mid-80s. All signs are pointing to a masterpiece that sends this series off into the sunset with the kind of closing it deserves.
No, not two burly, sweaty, old men pummeling each other on a roof. Metal Gear Solid V won’t let us down.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
When it first released all the way back in 2008, Mirror’s Edge was a breath of fresh air from a publisher putting out absolutely uniform efforts for nearly a decade. It and Dead Space were big risks, and it seemed like only Dead Space would continue.
Well, now here we are with the first Mirror’s Edge since the original and Dead Space seems almost entirely used up. Good news, then, because Catalyst looks wonderful.
I had a chance to go hands-on with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for roughly 15 minutes during the show last week, and I walked away exceptionally impressed. It’s an open world affair this time around, but DICE has managed to use Runner’s Vision instead of on screen waypoints, and it works very well for maintaining the illusion.
I really enjoyed my time with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, and it now stands as one of my favorite things from E3 2015.
No Man’s Sky
Another E3 has come and gone, and another E3 has left us with dozens of questions about this mysterious title. What’s the point? How is it possible? How does one complete this game, get Platinum Trophy, and quickly move onto the next title in their backlog?
The frustration surrounding this game is understandable. Gamers love to feel like they know everything about their hobby, and anything that would call that into question is treated with a sense of suspicion. “I can’t picture what this is, so it must be the game’s fault.”
Well, kind of true. No Man’s Sky is simply too big and too revolutionary to for us to grasp until it actually happens. The gaming crowd demanded to see gameplay, Hello Games showed off gameplay, and we still don’t entirely get it!
And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m tired of knowing exactly what I’m going to get when I buy a game. The mysteries behind No Man’s Sky’s hype is half the allure. The gorgeous visuals, tight controls, and a universe at the tips of my fingers also might have something to do with it.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
The JRPG genre is making a comeback on home consoles with a whole barrage of excellent looking titles, not to mention it stole all of E3 with the megaton of megaton announcements. However, it is Square Enix’s and Tri-Ace’s lower key Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness which had me the most riled up this year.
Producer Shuichi Kobayashi is fixed on looking both backwards and forwards with this game. He openly admitted in interviews that the previous game, Star Ocean: The Last Hope was a bit of a misstep and acknowledges that fans would like to see a more natural progression from the first and all around more popular trio of games.
At the same time Kobayashi states he wants to destroy certain stereotypes about the JRPG genre, for example, saying that this will not play out like an interactive movie. The combat is certainly there as we finally saw it in motion, and unlike the Tales series, Star Ocean isn’t crippled by an annual release schedule, meaning it has had the time to get everything right.
And if all else fails, at least Tri-Ace was able to make a protagonist who’s clashing color choices don’t repulse at the very sight. Ugh, creepy!
Star Wars: Battlefront
When you combine the Star Wars license, the history and play of the Battlefront (and Battlefield) games and the hype machine that is the gaming industry today, you have the potential for a collosal effort. That’s what DICE and EA have their hands on with Star Wars: Battlefront right now, and it could be an absolute slam dunk.
I played the game for roughly 20 minutes during E3 last week, and I had a whole lot of fun. It was a simple affair, mind you, but from top to bottom, the blaster play, sound effects and Star Wars aesthetic were absolutely nailed.
Will that be enough to vault the game to magical sales and a strong critical reception? I’m not sure. I know that prelaunch hype alone will be enough to make EA a truckload of money, but I’m just not sure if this is the game of the year that so many Star Wars fans are hoping for.
Me? I just want it to be fun.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
It’s hard to know what to say about Uncharted 4 at this point. We know what kind of thrills the series offers, and we’re excited to have one more go-round with Nathan Drake. If the subtitle, A Thief’s End is any hint, this might be our last adventure with the charismatic thief, as well.
The action we’ve seen so far has, in the best way possible, been exactly what we expect from the series. Car chases, explosions, and witty comebacks.
Everything we’ve seen, though, has been incredibly polished. That’s what we really look to Naughty Dog for. The way light filters through hanging cloth, or a bottle rolls into the middle of a collapsing table before rolling down Nathan’s back, the way characters stumble when stepping over an obstacle on the ground, all of these little things help to bring Uncharted to life. Few other games are afforded the loving attention this one is getting.
Were we disappointed when Uncharted 4 was delayed into 2016? Yeah. Did it dull our anticipation? Not at all.