It could be argued that most, if not all, of the big-name publishers played it safe at E3 by sticking to their franchises and annual outings. Even so, this year’s expo could become one for the ages.
The big boys bought out their biggest guns, resulting in an extravaganza of exceedingly promising titles.
Sony had a strong line-up of system showcases; the usual assortment of new and classic IPs that we’ve come to expect. Microsoft knuckled down and finally revealed some new games; 42 titles, no less – 22 of which are exclusive in some way. As for Nintendo, while we would have liked to have seen at least one new IP, and a few more third-party titles, their line-up was incredibly strong. By the end of 2018, we should have a Switch catalogue that eclipses that of the Wii U. A dizzying prospect.
We’ve picked out six showstoppers that had the crowds whooping and hollering. Woo!
A Way Out
EA’s conference marked the beginning of E3, and so it makes sense to start with a new game from good old Electronic Arts. Step forward A Way Out, a story-driven adventure that can only be played via online or local co-op in split-screen. Maybe not the most enticing of set-ups, but consider this – it’s from the guys behind Brothers, which also had an unprecedented focus on teamwork.
Essentially Prison Break: The Game – excusing the fact that such a thing already exists – it sees two criminals escaping from prison and going on the run, fleeing through forests and taking to the city streets to reunite with their families. With different scenarios unfolding each time, playthroughs should vary significantly.
Our only worry is that the online experience is going to heavily depend on whom you’re paired with. Online etiquette isn’t what it used to be, but hopefully, the more mature tone will attract a fanbase with decorum.
Teased by EA and revealed in full during the Xbox conference, Anthem sees BioWare gunning for a slice of Destiny pie. This co-op sci-fi RPG looks resoundingly slick, justifying the cost of an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro almost singlehandedly.
Exosuits – known as Javelins – are the focal point, fully customisable to suit specific play styles. In one scene we see a crew member rain fire from above via a shoulder-mounted mortar cannon. The hostile alien world has also been designed to pull players off the beaten path, prompting exploration outside of mission zones in search of precious loot. Comparisons with Evolve and Capcom’s uberflop Dark Void have been made, and are mostly justified, thanks to the presence of fierce and toothy wildlife and the ability to zip through the air via a jetpack.
EA stated in 2015 that they wanted their own open-world action game series to rival the likes of GTA V and Assassin’s Creed. Early signs suggest they’ve finally found it.
While the gameplay demo of Sony’s Spider-Man did appear heavily scripted, it was also incredibly impressive, highlighting fluid animation, stylish set pieces and fast-paced combat. All accompanied by Peter Parker’s trademark sparkling wit, of course.
It’s the use of web-slinging during combat that really sets this apart from Spider-Man games prior, with Spidey able to grab and fling objects at foes, string enemies to floors and ceilings, and incapacitate crooks remotely with a thrown device, all achieved in a pleasingly seamless fashion.
Although we do fear that it may be a little QTE heavy, much like the God of War series before it, it still looks set to offer the finest Spider-Man experience since 2008’s often overlooked Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. It may struggle to topple Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series, however.
Super Mario Odyssey
The Switch’s Super Mario Odyssey is the stuff memes are made of, filled to the brim with scope and potential for mirth and merriment.
This is Nintendo at their most playful, putting Mario in a semi-realistic world, while also giving him the ability to possess other characters and objects and use their skills. We see Mario take the form of a Cheep-Cheep to swim more proficiently and become a Bullet Bill in order to take to the air.
There are examples even more nonsensical, would you believe, such as Mario taking control of a yellow ‘New Donk City’ taxi, and a human citizen.
Once Odyssey launches, Twitter will never be the same.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
A glorious mixture of live action, in-game footage and CGI, the trailer for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus defied all expectations. As humorous as it is serious, it outlines the plot, shows a few snippets of the franchises’ notoriously grizzly gunplay and ends with an LSD-fuelled trip.
BJ Blazkowicz and his motley crew spark a second American Revolution to secure a Nazi-free America. Blazkowicz has extra incentive this time round, too – the imminent arrival of twins. Locations mentioned so far include small-town Roswell, New Mexico, the flooded streets of New Orleans, and a post-nuclear Manhattan.
Fans of BJ (oh, grow up) will no doubt want to get their hands on the collector’s edition, which includes a 12” William Joseph “BJ” Blazkowicz action figure, complete with accessories and packaged in a lavish ‘60s style box. Sadly though, word has it this edition is only due out in the US. We may have to bite the bullet and cough up some doubtlessly expensive shipping fees.
While it could be written off as yet another glitzy big-budget shooter, developer 4A Games has proven themselves twice over with the acclaimed Metro 2035 and Metro: Last Light. Moreover, the trailer shows 4A Games have set their ambitions high, with Exodus taking the series open-world.
Set in 2036, you play as Artyom – a 22-year-old who leaves Moscow on a continent-crossing journey in search of a new life. Both linear and sandbox environments are set to feature, with one set-piece showing a run-in with a mutated grizzly bear. As well as changing weather effects and a day and night cycle, 4A Games has one other trick up their sleeve – the storyline progresses over the course of a year, with changes in seasons and all that they entail.
Throw in a heavily armoured locomotive as a means to get around, and you get one of the most promising titles Deep Silver has published in a while, Atlus’ JRPGs notwithstanding.