When E3 comes around, it’s always a magical time. Gamers plaster themselves to their TVs, mobiles, computers, and anything with an internet connection to act like kids in a candy store, ooh-ing and aah-ing at all the beautiful new wonders of technology we can expect in the coming months and years.
Another year of the Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, and with it, a boatload of games have been announced in one way or another. None of the big three – that is, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft – really stirred up much controversy this time around, and all things considered, it’s a blessing. So many incredible games were either teased, announced, or given all-out playable stands on the expo floor, it would have been a shame to waste internet journalism on some stupid comment made by a company bigwig when it could be talking about the remake of Phantom Dust or the new Assassin’s Creed title where you run around Paris and kill everyone.
And that’s just a taste, folks. This year’s E3 was a perfect apology for the awkward and not-so-game focused Expo we had last year. From bizarre titles like Nintendo’s Splatoon or Yoshi’s Wooly World to the game industry’s bad habit of rehashing best exemplified by Halo: The Master Chief Collection or the ultimate example, Madden 15, this E3 stood far and away as one of the best examples of what the show is all about – the gamers. If the three-day event in LA gave any kind of message to the people who either attended or watched from home, it’s this: You’re not going to have a boring September. Or Christmas.
With that in mind, imagine the difficulty with which we racked our brains trying to come up with only ten of the most anticipated games coming out of this year’s E3. It took several hours and repeated bouts of self-flagellation, but we are proud to present you, our dear readers, with ten games that turn us into Pavlov’s dogs whenever we think of them.
10. Little Big Planet 3
In 2008, Sony Computer Entertainment released a game from an unknown developer called Media Molecule. The British group had created a game called LittleBigPlanet, a platforming adventure starring an odd little doll, or sack person, the game called it. Its kooky humor and unlimited creativity and customization made it a smash hit. Personally, I think the tutorial by Stephen Fry didn’t hurt either.
Now the latest installment is heading to stores in November for the PlayStation 4, and Sackpeople everywhere are rejoicing once again. Notable additions to the series include three new Sack body types – a more Rubenesque sack person, a canine sack person, and an avian sack person. From the trailer, it looks to be as charming and upbeat as those that came before it.
9. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
It wouldn’t be an E3 without Activision announcing the newest addition to its Call of Duty franchise. Advanced Warfare takes place forty years in the future, to a time when robot drones and high-tech have mingled with gunpowder and rifles. Activision premiered a game play segment at Microsoft’s press conference, and the next-gen title did not disappoint. Stunning graphics and cover-based first person shooting abounded, with the soldiers in the game being outfitted with all sorts of cool bells and whistles that certainly are not standard issue today. A major point of interest was the creation of cover from items found in the level – the demonstrator ripped a car door off its hinges and used it to block an incoming swarm of robot drones. It’s set to hit shelves November 4th.
8. Star Fox Wii U
Shigeru Miyamoto was only a tiny portion of Nintendo’s press event, but what he spoke about was barely relevant. Before he addressed the camera, Miyamoto-san had been playing a video game. Only, it was difficult to tell what – the screen was blurred, but one could definitely see what looked like a spaceship whiz by. The Twitters were sent ablaze with cries of “OMG STAR FOX,” (I know, I sent a few of them) and at Nintendo’s booth, there was a live demonstration of what will be the new Star Fox game for the Wii U.
The control scheme integrates the Wii U gamepad’s touchscreen, but whether or not that might affect game play remains to be seen. In an interview with Time, Miyamoto-san suggested the game was at least a year off, but now that Star Fox fans have a light at the end of their tunnel, they’re doing barrel rolls.
7. Mortal Kombat X
Everyone’s favorite hyper-violent and over-typoed franchise is back. With a new characters and top of the line next-gen graphics, MKX is sure to quell the blood thirst of fighting game fans yet again. Interesting features of the game included three distinct fighting styles for each Kombatant, interactive stages, new fatalities, and new fighters, such as the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, Cassie Cage.
One of her fatalities included blasting out both kneecaps of her opponent and shooting them in the head. But any fan of MK knows it doesn’t stop there. Cassie chews bubble gum while she fights, and as her victim is bleeding profusely from the head, she blows a bubble and pops it. She then takes the gum and covers the head wound. The spray of blood creates its own bubble, which bursts all over the loser’s face right as they fall to the floor. It’s nice to see the MK guys haven’t lost their sense of humor.
Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat X is slated to come out in 2015, so Kombat fans might have to keep playing the 2011 remake until then.
6. The Legend of Zelda Wii U
We were worried about Nintendo before E3: they had a really crappy year, losing $457 million dollars mainly because of the Wii U’s failure to attract customers. However, Eiji Aonuma began his section of the big N’s event by standing behind a beautiful and vibrant background of open land, blue sky, and distant mountains. In the foreground, a person on horseback stood in a field. It was a serene vista to behold as Aonuma spoke on the new Legend of Zelda title for the Wii U.
Then everything blew up.
A giant robot spider laid waste to the land and gave chase as the rider galloped off into the distance. As the spider caught up with the rider and trapped him, the rider threw off his cloak, revealing an interesting new look for Link, who in true LoZ fashion, shot up the spider with bomb arrows and then an entirely new type of arrow that made quick work of it. The catch? Not ’til 2015. I guess we’ll just have to settle for Wind Waker HD in the meantime.
5. Crackdown 3
Question – who here knows the proper procedure for dethroning a gang kingpin? If you answered “blow up a city block and fling a building into the gangster’s place of residence,” you are correct. However, you are probably also Machete, so I won’t say you’re going a little bit overboard.
What I can do is suggest that you keep a weather eye on the horizon for Crackdown 3 on the Xbox One. With cel-shaded, destructible environments and explosives and bullets galore, Crackdown promises to be a crazy-ass ride.
4. Sunset Overdrive
Insomniac Games, makers of classics like Spyro The Dragon and Ratchet and Clank, are coming to the Xbox One in style. Their new game Sunset Overdrive is an off-the-rails action adventure about a punky protagonist ripping up hordes of mutants across the open world of Sunset City. Combat in the game is agile and fluid, with seemingly unlimited navigation of the world around it to get around obstacles and enemies. It’s a wild ride, and it’s set to get started around Halloween this year.
3. Mario Maker
Have you ever looked at a level from Super Mario Bros and thought “Jeez, I wish I could do this or that?” Ever wanted to create your own Mario levels to torment your friends Well, if you did, you’re sick and should be punished. Aren’t Mario games hard enough?
Anyway, Mario Maker gives Wii U users the ability to create custom Super Mario Bros levels. But what’s even cooler is that the graphical styles of different Mario games can be used – the trailer featured the looks of Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario Bros U – so it promises even more variety in that regard.
An idea that I found interesting while reading up on the buzz the trailer caused was the notion of whole games being created by users. A healthy, free environment to share things like this would be amazing for Nintendo’s image and community, because Nintendo hasn’t embraced the digital age with what one could call “grace.” It’s really an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan right now, and I am truly hoping they don’t fall flat on their face.
2. No Man’s Sky
Little video game studio Hello Games is working on something big. Like, infinitely big. The game that made them famous was a little side-scrolling motorcycle game called Joe Danger, and now they’re shooting for the moon. And the stars. And the asteroid belt. And…
No Man’s Sky is set to be an open world sci-fi adventure title, allowing the player to fully explore land, sea, air, sky, and space. The trailer featured a first-person view of a person swimming in the ocean of some strange alien world, then hopping into a spaceship and soaring through the sky before leaving the planet altogether.
“So what?” You might ask. True, game trailers show that sort of thing all the time using several jump cuts, but the exciting part of NMS is that that whole sequence was one long scene of pure game play. If Hello Games can deliver on their claims of a fun, infinitely-gigantic sandbox that’s compelling and worth exploring, then the little ten-person studio is going to have more money on their hands than they know what to do with.
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted has tapped into the secret hearts of its players by giving players the ability to fulfill a childhood fantasy: be Indiana Jones. I’m summarizing of course, and over three games the series has developed a huge following because of its amazing graphics, tight gameplay, full characterization, and witty banter. Naughty Dog, the series’ developers, are known for creating great games. With this new Uncharted for the PS4, the scale is once again set to epic, and the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. Or at least, that’s what the trailer would have you believe. Is this the last go-round for Nathan Drake? We’ll find out in 2015. A Thief’s End, indeed…