After a week full of announcements, surprises, disappointments, and more new games than you can shake a stick at, E3 has come to a close. Although I enjoy watching E3 from the comfort of home, there is a part of me that definitely misses not being able to physically be there and play the games in person. Despite the traffic, sore feet, headaches, and halitosis, you just can’t replace that in-person experience.
Anyway, now that the show is over and I’ve had a few days to think about the games that were on display, I wanted to share my personal list of titles I’m most excited about. Basically, if I had the power to, I’d play all of these right now.
Here we go, in relative order of my excitement level from lowest to highest. Special thanks to NeoGAF for providing a handy list of the games at E3 that I used for reference, several of which I completely missed earlier in the week.
One thing’s for sure: October of this year and what looks like all of 2015 are going to be crowded with lots of high-quality games. I hope your wallets are ready!
Hohokum (PS4/PS3/Vita, August 2014)
Supporting Cross-Play, this is a very unique-looking title that underscores the robust lineup that the PlayStation brand is known for. It has a look that is not unlike that of LocoRoco, and represents the style of new thinking common to many games of this decade. It looks like a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see those colors pop on the Vita.
Pushmo World (Wii U, June 2014)
Even though they can frustrate me, I love the puzzle games Pushmo and Crashmo on the 3DS. I gave Crashmo an A- back in January, and I was hoping the series wouldn’t end there. I’m really happy that it’s making its way to the Wii U next week! I honestly don’t know if Intelligent Systems is capable of making a bad game, although the jury’s still out on their recently announced Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Just about everything they do is fun, polished, and imaginative.
Gunman Clive 2 (3DS, Q3 2014)
Nintendo released a ton of eShop trailers for their systems this year, but Gunman Clive 2 was the one that stood out for me. The original was a fun little action/platformer, but it was really short. It has a great style, good controls, and was the kind of game that definitely needed a sequel. And here it is, looking terrific. It should be a lot of fun.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity (PS4/Xbox One/PC, October 2014)
This is a series that I haven’t given much attention to over the years, but I was really impressed by what I saw at E3 this year. The cinematic trailer is nice, but the in-game footage is what’s truly gorgeous, and really said “next-generation” to me. All throughout the week, I was continually surprised by just how good most games look this generation in terms of raw detail, performance, and individual style.
Grand Theft Auto V (PS4/Xbox One/PC, Fall 2014)
I gave the original Grand Theft Auto V an A+ in March, and cited it as one of my favorite games on the PS3. I’ll likely have to double-dip on the PC, where it will finally be able to shine as bright as it was meant to. Not sure if I’ll have it in me to replay it from the start, but it sounds like you’ll be able to transfer your save data somehow. Hopefully that’s true for PC as well!
Evolve (PS4/Xbox One/PC, October 2014)
Online multiplayer games aren’t my thing, and that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon, but I have to mention this since so many of my former friends and coworkers are busting their rumps to get this game done. This was one of the last projects at THQ before the company went belly-up, so a lot of us have a lasting connection with it. It’s been receiving extremely high praise from press and players alike, so I have no doubt it will be a huge hit for Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games.
Mirror’s Edge 2 (PS4/Xbox One/PC, 2016)
It’s tough to get too excited over a game slated for 2016, but I can’t deny that I’m really drawn to the game’s style. It’s one of the most unique out there. I’m so glad that DICE is able to work on games like this again after a very successful — but ultimately uninteresting to me — run with the Battlefield series.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (Wii U/3DS, Q3 2014)
I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge back in September of 2012, and I absolutely loved it. Pirate’s Curse, co-developed by WayForward and Inti Creates, looks insanely beautiful, and will definitely be a must-buy for me when it comes out later this year. Now to decide whether to get the Wii U or 3DS version. Those graphics might demand that I play it in HD.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS, Q3 2014)
I’ve never played any of the Etrian Odyssey games, but I used to be a big fan of first-person dungeon crawlers on the old Apple //e. Mixing that style with cute, super-deformed Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters? Yeah, I won’t be able to resist that. Not one bit.
Bayonetta 2 + Bayonetta 1 (Wii U, October 2014)
Originally announced as a Wii U exclusive back in 2012, fans of Platinum Games are eagerly awaiting this one. I have admittedly not played the original, but this looks so crazy over-the-top that I’m now pretty excited about its arrival! It also has some Nintendo franchise tie-ins, including The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, which looks silly and awesome at the same time.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright (3DS, August 2014)
When I first heard that they were going to cross these two series together, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. Although they share some similarities, their styles are vastly different. I also wasn’t really sure if we’d ever get this game, but now that we are, and I’ve seen the trailer, I’m super-excited about it! Both of these games have made me pretty mad in the past with their occasionally obscure puzzle designs, but this is looking really good. The animated cutscenes have a particularly premium feel to them that I can appreciate.
Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox One/360, September 2014)
Although I have yet to play the first one, I really liked what I saw of this at Microsoft’s press conference. I don’t have an Xbox One yet, so I might get the 360 version. However, knowing there’s a superior version out there might be a hard pill to swallow. With the cheaper $400 Xbox One sans Kinect now out there, Microsoft’s making that decision a little easier for those of us still on the fence.
Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One, October 2014)
After a string of pretty serious games over the past year, like The Last of Us and Tomb Raider, games like Sunset Overdrive really stand out. I haven’t been much of an Insomniac follower over the years — the last game of theirs I ever completed was the original Spyro the Dragon! — but this looks like it could bring me back. I love the animation, and there’s a distinct Jet Grind Radio vibe going on as well, which is never a bad thing.
Driveclub (PS4, October 2014)
I really didn’t pay much attention to this leading up to E3, and prematurely wrote it off as just another racing game. However, after seeing some coverage, what I really like about it is that it is less Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, and more Project Gotham Racing. This is potentially very exciting news since fans of the PGR series have been left hanging since 2007. It looks and sounds great — including some phenomenal weather effects — so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the final product is like!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4/Xbox One/PC, February 2015)
This is yet another series (in a long line of them, can’t you tell?) that I have never played, but after getting a taste of it with this trailer and some of the other coverage this week, it now has my full attention. This just looks ridiculously good, and there’s no doubt I’m going to have to fire up my copy of The Witcher 2 on Steam sometime soon to see what it’s all about!
Costume Quest 2 (Everything under the sun, October 2014)
A fond memory of mine was working on the first Costume Quest at THQ. The team had the best time working with Double Fine, and it remains one of the smoothest and delightful projects we saw in QA. The first game was fun and charming, but rather simple and short. The sequel looks to really raise the bar and deliver a game that improves upon it in every way. Like Grim Fandango, it’s great to see Double Fine flourish and create games that their fans really want.
Volume (PS4/Vita/PC, 2014)
Mike Bithell’s Thomas Was Alone is one of my favorite Vita games. His next game looks like it has some interesting ideas, and I’m sure by the time it releases later this year, it will be of the same high quality as TWA. The very strange — but refreshingly cool — live-action trailer adds to its mystery and a seemingly dark, comedic nature.
Night in the Woods (PS4/PC, 2015)
Successfully funded on Kickstarter back in November 2013, this just looks lovely. It has a clean style, and looks to touch on some very serious life and existence issues. Music sounds great and you can tell the team is dedicated to making this an unforgettable and unique adventure. This one totally flew under the radar for me, but I think it’s one of the more interesting games I’ve seen this week.
Abzu (PS4, No Release Date)
From the same Art Director and Composer as 2012’s Journey — one of the most sublime PS3 games I played last generation — this looks to be another winner. Gorgeous visuals with a wonderfully mysterious atmosphere. Unless something goes terribly wrong during its development, I’ll be there on day one for this!
No Man’s Sky (PS4, No Release Date)
Dinosaurs, technology, Robotech-like space battles, and procedurally generated worlds to explore. It all sounds — and especially looks — brilliant, but I worry a little bit about the actual gameplay. Games like these have historically left me feeling empty because they lack focus, but I’m going to keep the faith with this one. I hope it ends up being a game from this generation that we’ll be talking about years from now.
Fantasy Life (3DS, October 2014)
Out of nowhere came the news of Level 5’s RPG being localized for the US. It wasn’t the Dragon Quest VII remake announcement I was hoping for, but this looks like a lot of fun! The musical score in particular — composed by Final Fantasy legend Nobuo Uematsu — sounds beautiful, with sweeping, grand melodies and nice instrumentation. I can’t wait for this one!
Grim Fandango (PS4/Vita, No Release Date)
If you are a fan of the classic PC adventure game, this was probably at or near the top of your list of favorite announcements this week. Just hearing them say “Grim Fandango” and seeing the logo up on screen was enough to give me chills. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long to remaster, but seeing as it’s been 16 years since the original, I suppose we can wait a little longer. No PC version as of yet, but it has to be coming out at some point, right? If so, I’ll have to get that version out of respect for the original.
Valiant Hearts (Everything except Wii U, June 2014)
Utilizing the UbiArt Framework engine, this adventure game looks so unique, and it’s nice to see a shifting focus from WWII overload to other conflicts. There are so many other stories to tell — such as these — so I’m really looking forward to this game’s release later this month.
Cuphead (Xbox One/PC, Q4 2014)
I had totally forgotten about this game until one of my friends mentioned it on Google+. I don’t like the name — it needs a subtitle or something — but the game itself looks absolutely amazing. With a convincing 1930’s animation style and slick design, it really stands out in an ever-growing sea of side-scrolling games. This is “retro” taken to a whole different level. More games like this, please!
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One, Late 2015)
2013’s Tomb Raider totally exceeded my expectations when I played it earlier this year. After beating it, I immediately wanted to play a sequel. Although only shown in cutscene form, it looked intense, and I have full confidence that Crystal Dynamics will deliver a game that outdoes the original in every way possible. It’s one of my most anticipated games this generation, so here’s to the long wait.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4, 2015)
Although the trailer was short and didn’t show any gameplay, Uncharted 4 is obviously at or near the top of many Most Wanted lists, including mine. The PS3 trilogy is among my all-time favorites, and although Uncharted 3 was the weakest one, I trust that Naughty Dog will bring it back to its former glory on PS4. The footage shown, running realtime in-game at 1080p and 60fps, made jaws hit the floor. Subtle, almost imperceptible details shine through with each subsequent viewing. If the final game does indeed look as good as this, prepare for PS4 shortages once again.
Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4/Xbox One/PC, 2015)
Easily one of my most anticipated games right now. Not much more needs to be said about this one, and I’ll probably avoid most media on it from here on out. I know it’ll be good, and I’ll definitely be there on release day, no matter what!
Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One/360/PC, Q4 2014)
This was probably my favorite game of the show that was shown with actual gameplay. It’s stunningly beautiful with an aesthetic similar to the UbiArt Framework games, appears to have very smooth gameplay, all wrapped up in a mysteriously magical atmosphere. Seeing a game like this makes me so happy that 2D design and artwork has not just persevered, but thrived. I have very, very high hopes for this one. Maybe too high.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U, 2015)
And finally, the Nintendo bomb felt around the world on Tuesday morning. I’ve already expressed my “slight” excitement over this one, but it’s worth it. This was easily the game at E3 that blew my mind the most. Sure, it looks like it was mainly just an in-engine cutscene, but that wide shot of Hyrule has already captured my imagination, looking so vibrant and full of life. As I heard someone say, “I want to live there!” Couldn’t agree more. Minus the monsters, perhaps. The art style is just perfect. It will be a long, excruciatingly painful wait for this one, but I’m sure it will be 100% worth it.
And with that, it’s now time to recover from the show and get back to actually playing games again. Have a great weekend everyone!