Wow! Another E3 has come and gone, and holy cow was this year’s show fully loaded! Every single press event had at least one game that has me jazzed to play it. It’s been years since E3 has been this exciting for me! After watching E3 trailer after E3 trailer — and because we like making these difficult lists here at the site — here are my top five games from this year’s iteration of gaming’s greatest spectacle!
Horizon: Zero Dawn
How can you not be enthused about a game centered on hunting robot dinosaurs?! This game stole the show for me as I wasn’t expecting Sony to show any gameplay at all. It’s nice to see Guerrilla Games working on something that isn’t Killzone for a change, and even nicer to have learned that this game has been in development for four years now! I can tell you now — spoiler warning — this game will make an appearance on my most anticipated games of 2016 list!
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
I doubt it’s a surprise — at least, to anyone that knows me — that the sequel to my 2014 game of the year is on this list. Garden Warfare proved to be one of the titles I played the most throughout 2014, especially on my Xbox One, as it carried me through Microsoft’s summer-exclusive lull. This one sounds like it’s going to be bigger and better than ever, as a single player component was announced alongside tons of new character classes and the ability to transfer existing ones over to the new title. It was even better to learn that the post-launch, free DLC support that the first game saw will continue with this new entry! I still play Garden Warfare every so often because the game just doesn’t get old for me. I expect this sequel to be just as fun, if not more so, than its predecessor.
I’m a sucker for games that invoke “the feels,” and this game seems like it’ll do just that. Much like Hello Games’ Sean Murray, Martin Sahlin - of Unravel developer Coldwood Interactive - comes off as a genuinely great guy who’s extremely passionate about his game. Not many things in gaming are better than seeing developers showing real emotion for their projects, and Martin’s excited nervousness as he finally revealed his game on the big stage was awesome to watch. I’m looking forward to my journey with Yarny; this puzzle-platformer deserves a spot on my list, dangling amongst the best from this year’s show.
Here we are in 2015 talking about a new Doom. If last year’s outstanding Wolfenstein: The New Order taught me anything, it’s not to sleep on new entries in either of these famed franchises. Bethesda treated us to a ton of footage from this brutally gorgeous game, and I was left in complete awe. The game not only looks incredible — thanks to the latest iteration of the idTech engine — but it seems like it’ll hold a sexy 60 frames per second, much like The New Order before it. I’m itching to get my hands on this game next spring and send these demon souls screaming back to hell. #DestinyProblems
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
Nintendo was basically this year’s disappointment-fest. Not only did they troll fans of Metroid Prime and Animal Crossing (#SorryBender), but they buried Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water amongst all of the footage they aired during their live Treehouse segments. In fact, I had to double back through all of Nintendo’s Treehouse stuff to even see if this game was mentioned, as it wasn’t playable on the show floor according to attendees. Sure enough, there was a good half-hour or so dedicated to showing off this extremely creepy, new-ish entry in the revered series. The last time we saw a Fatal Frame game in the States was the franchise’s third entry - released in late 2005 on the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox - so we're long overdue for a new series title in the West. This game seems to make great use of the Wii U’s gamepad, as players utilize it as their camera to fend off the spirits they encounter throughout the game. The game’s unique combat system makes for a number of intense moments. I love what I’ve seen of this game so far, and I eagerly await its arrival in the US this fall.
Honorable Mention: Rare Replay
It didn’t feel right putting this collection on my list since this game is composed of previously released titles, but man did this fire up the memory train! I’ve come to accept that a new Conker game (go away Project Spark) and Banjo-Three-ie will likely never be, but I continue to pine for these kinds of experiences, even if it means simply replaying the classics. Having only had experience with the heavily edited Xbox version of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, I’m pleased to know that my opportunity to play the Nintendo 64 version will finally come to pass without needing to drop a pretty penny for an old cartridge! Combine this with the Rare titles I have never played, such as Kameo and Perfect Dark, and you’ve got my attention. Rare defined my teenage gaming years with Donkey Kong 64, Goldeneye 007, and Banjo-Kazooie, and I’m pleased that some of these experiences will live on. Who knows, maybe the success of this and Yooka-Laylee will show Microsoft that there’s still a feverous fan base for these types of games…wait, what? Probably not? Well, at least this superb collection exists, and will be there to fuel many nostalgic gaming hours with my girlfriend come August 4th!
So, there you have it! This list barely scratches the surface of the games I’m stoked to play from this year's E3. Spring 2016 sounds like it’s going to be jam packed with many of the big time releases we’ve been clamoring for since these new consoles hit the market. My wallet is ready, and I hope yours is too. Strap in folks, this generation is finally underway!