With E3 now over, there begins a long journey of excitement until these games hit shelves. Here are the ten that rose my anticipation levels the most, whether gameplay was shown or not.
10. Death Stranding (PS4)
It’s hard not to be interested in Death Stranding. From what I can piece together, you play a delivery man, trying to live an ordinary life, but with acid inspired circumstances keeping you from doing so. No real action was shown, but it seems to have you traversing wide open environments enduring the elements and injuries.
On a side note, the art style is heavily inspired by the Phantom Pain, and for some reason, I just love the way the textures are realised on everyday objects. Also, I love how this game’s being treated as some kind of movie with actors and using its cast to promote itself. I’m still fascinated with Death Stranding, however, I am disappointed that we still have no real idea what of the action is like.
9. Gears 5 (Xbox One)
Over the years, Gears of War has lacked the punch it once had among the single player scene. While the campaigns were always a ton of fun, they failed to build any real character development or tell a memorable story over literally an entire trilogy. 4 was a step in the right direction, but this new entry seems to be even more promising.
The Coalition is going out of their comfort zone, with a clear emphasis on new. Two smaller characters getting their own spotlight, new, diverse, and wild environments changing the art style, brand new enemy types, and that incredible new staff melee combat creates an interesting new shake-up to the relatively old formula Gears has relied on throughout the years.
8. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
This new trilogy of Tomb Raider games has impressed me with its high octane moments and blend of sandbox linearity, but like Gears has failed to create any meaningful stories. However, this game has clearly gone in a different direction than it’s predecessors. Lara Croft is essentially considered a villain, causing a mistake that the main antagonist is set to take advantage of. Setting the stage for a gritty and dark adventure reflected in the gameplay.
The brutal jungle demo was a highlight during Square Enix’s conference, with impressive level design and so much room for creativity. Lara can disguise herself in mud and hide among the walls, turn her enemies against each other, and perform a wide variety of snake-like takedowns. I was hesitant with a new studio taking the reigns on this project, but it looks to be for the better.
7. Anthem (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Anthem is everything I’ve ever wanted in a multiplayer game, simply exploring an unknown world with friends, discovering secrets, and progressing together. The gameplay looks casual enough to be enjoyed by anyone with a clean and simple UI, but with vast and deep concepts waiting to be found underneath. The classes look extremely diverse, and I love the fact that they can be switched based on the friends you’re playing with.
The world begs to be explored, adopting an art style similar to that of Pandora from Avatar, and a sense of verticality unheard of in games. However, most of that desire comes from the vehicle used, continuously blowing my mind, and literally letting you become Ironman. However, EA’s lack of delivery in recent years has become a trend and the shakey presentation at this year’s E3 leaves me incredibly skeptical.
6. Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Nintendo Switch)
Nintendo has a fascinating catalog of A tier franchises just under Zelda and Mario, and I’ve been anticipating what a Fire Emblem game would look like on the Nintendo Switch ever since its incarnation. And with the reveal, they’ve so far delivered on my expectations. Reminiscent of the Wii/Gamecube duo-logy, it’s apparent that the series is making a return to hardcore strategy, and is embracing older concepts like durability, rather than removing them like Fates.
The formation system seems awesome, and a great replacement for a support command that would often make certain units totally useless. Graphically, the art style embraces anime more than ever before with clean character profiles and a full 3D hub world for free roam traversal. Also, the game featuring actual proportioned sprites rather than the traditionally pixelated is a wild change, but those create these smooth and virtually seamless transitions with every encounter. Fire Emblem has blown up in popularity in the past years, but I’m glad they’re still taking criticism and constantly improving their formula.
5. Spider-man (PS4)
For a long time, video games adapting movies or comics usually tend to feel like cash-ins and not quality experiences. However, the table was turned when Rocksteady showed the potential in these franchises, and what better developer to continue their trend than Insomniac. Sunset Overdrive was a blast to play, with a fluid movement system that I’m hoping they somehow make even better with Spider-man.
The combat continues to impress, with smooth motion, but with room for creativity and using the environment to your advantage. However, while it looks to excel in gameplay, it also looks to impress in cinematics. So much is happening on screen at once, appearing many times like an Uncharted-style rollercoaster of adrenalin, and that’s exactly what these types of games need.
4. Halo Infinite (Xbox One)
Not only has Xbox had a lack of console exclusives during this generation, but lots of the exclusives they’ve released have been plagued with mediocrity, and no other franchise has been hit with franchise fatigue harder than Halo. With the Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer being unplayable at launch, and Halo 5’s campaign being lacklustre and a slap in the face to fans, 343 has a lot of bridges to rebuild.
However, just from one trailer, I think they’ve nailed down the direction everyone desires. They didn’t show much, but it’s apparent that Master Chief is at the center of this new adventure, and supposedly the grandest and most ambitious one yet. Infinite also boasts the new slipstream engine, creating environments I initially thought were that of Red Dead 2 or Forza, full of life and colour. Both of those tied with that iconic music gave off extreme Combat Evolved vibes, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
3. Ghost of Tsushima (PS4)
Samurai games are usually unheard of, and Ghost of Tsushima looks to make up for all of that lost time. Being a Sony First Party game, it’s obviously beautiful, but the attention to detail and colour in objects like leaves and grass fields make it absolutely jaw-dropping. Reminiscent of old samurai movies, the tone seems to be perfectly overly dramatic, with the demo’s side quest scope rivalling that of a Metal Gear Solid showdown.
And although the gameplay seems to keep Playstation’s blood motif, the sword strikes are eloquent and beautiful, filled with finesse and precise movement. I’m psyched for this game, and it’s another title fattening the long list of PS4 exclusives setting the standards for how single player games should be made.
2. The Last of Us Part II (PS4)
I believed Naughty Dog would 1-up themselves again with The Last of Us Part II, and they more than proved me correct. In a fascinating new story direction, Naughty Dog isn’t relying on the mythical status around Joel and is leaning heavily into Ellie and a myriad of new characters. This chapter, Ellie is furious and fuelled by a desire for revenge, not holding anything back against her desire for bloodshed, reflected in the gore around every corner.
The AI is brilliant, and ammo is limited, requiring you to use everything in the environment to the utmost advantage and defining what it truly means to be a survival-horror game. The surroundings are blended fluidly into the gameplay, where enemies bash their heads on counter tops, Ellie is thrown through windows, and the action has essentially been turned into a playable cutscene. The magnified attention to detail is nuts, and I can’t wait to see how Naughty Dog continues to just drag every other studio across the floor.
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo Switch)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a beautiful love letter to the franchise in every way imaginable. Including every character and nearly every single map brings nostalgia to my heart, essentially serving as a Smash collection, yet including enough new content to warrant being called a new game. The redesigns of dated characters like Zelda and Link are incredibly thoughtful and make the older characters just as exciting as the newcomers.
Smash has always been a casual fighting game, but it’s awesome that this new entry is more fast, snappy, and more competitive than ever before, and it’s apparent that Nintendo is making a heavy push into eSports. The game also looks beautiful, borrowing Smash 4’s general art style, but paying close attention to lighting, shading, and a buttery smooth frame-rate. This reveal also starts an incredible hype train of others, and I can’t wait to see the other modes, characters, and surprises to make this iteration the greatest in the series.
Which games are you most excited to play? Let us know in the comments below.