Attending E3 2017 was an incredible opportunity, especially for a smaller media source like ours. In many ways, Goomba Stomp is still in its infancy, and this was only the second E3 we’ve sent journalists to cover. We’ve learned a lot through this year’s experience and now know what to expect of 2018’s E3. One aspect of E3 that we don’t want to miss out on is highlighting the games, developers, and booths that stood out above the rest. As we’ve now seen first hand, it’s fairly standard practice for media outlets to visibly nominate and award the best in show. Despite not being prepared at the conference itself, we wanted to give our post-E3 shout-outs to those we thought were a cut above the rest.
Here are some thoughts on who Goomba Stomp would have given Best in Show awards to according to the writers who attended, Patrick Murphy, Ryan Kapioski, and myself.
Tim: We missed the opportunity to give out show awards, the Golden Goombas or the Stompies, if you will.
Ryan: I’m a fan of the Stompies!
Tim: So, as Goomba Stomp’s E3 attendees, those stomping around E3…Mario, Luigi, and Peach, I guess-
Patrick: Wait a second, who’s Peach? I’ll be Waluigi, how ’bout that?
Tim: Hopefully we come to some sort of consensus, but, going category by category, what were the best games of E3 2017?
BEST FIGHTER OF E3
Ryan: Ah, geez, I’m gonna have to give it to Dragon Ball FighterZ. It just looks beautiful and plays wonderfully. Getting combos off is still difficult, but manageable, and part of that is that I’m not a big fighter fan. But getting off an Instant Transmission or Kamehameha just felt great. I love the Dragon Ball Z franchise, and this is doing everything right. Shout out to Gundam Versus and Dissidia though.
Patrick: No fighter was the best fighter of E3 ’cause I don’t like fighters.
Tim: That’s an awesome answer. I’m with Ryan, though. I’m not a huge fighter, but something about Dragon Ball FighterZ appealed to me at the very core of my being. All of the action-packed, combo nature of Street Fighter or Marvel vs. Capcom with the glorious animation of the DBZ anime?! It’s gotta be the best fighter of the show.
BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME OF E3
Patrick: That is a tough one. There were a lot of great action/adventure sort of games. I’m going to stick with Super Mario Odyssey being a platformer, so I’m going to go with Fire Emblem Warriors. I enjoyed the hell out of that game! It’s gorgeous…it’s just…cheesy action at its finest: mowing down armies of enemies, crazy cutscenes, all the things that made Hyrule Warriors a great game but transposed to the Fire Emblem universe! I can’t wait.
Ryan: I’m going to have to agree with you. Fire Emblem Warriors is great fun. I absolutely love it along with the rest of the Warriors franchise, and I’m glad they are taking risks with this. Adding in elements of Fire Emblem, it just feels natural. This has my vote.
Tim: As much as I want to ride that bandwagon with you guys, this looks great, and I love me some hack and slash, I’m gonna ride the pirate hype ship of Sea of Thieves. So much promise! It’s visually striking. Very bright and appealing, a call back to Monkey Island, maybe. It’s got such a strong sense of atmosphere, it feels like Disneyland attraction, like Pirates of the Caribbean, with as much charm and heart. If we’re talking action/adventure, it’s gotta be Sea of Thieves. It’s drowning in a sense of exploration and adventure.
BEST RPG/TACTICS GAME OF E3
Patrick: I only played one true RPG or tactics game, so I’m going with Mario + Rabbids. I’m not a huge tactics guy, but it was fun. I had a good time with the intro regardless of how poor my decision making was when playing it.
Ryan: My vote has to go to Ni No Kuni II. It looks beautiful, and Ghibli knocked it out of the park! (Editor’s note: while a lot of key members who worked on the original Ni No Kuni from Studio Ghibli returned for the sequel and the sequel consequently wears the signature marks of the studio, the studio itself is not involved in the production of the game.) The combat was the most surprising thing for me. It’s very fluid. It isn’t turned based, so you can run around the map yet you still use strategy elements to tackle the [demo’s] boss. I loved that. It’s made me want to plug back in my PS3, which I’m pretty sure will explode if I do, just so I can play the original.
Tim: I don’t think either of these choices are wrong. Mario + Rabbids is a unique tactics game like XCOM with an emphasis on mobility and set in the Mushroom Kingdom. Part of it reminds me of when Square made Super Mario RPG, and this holds all of that promise. That said, I loved the visuals and combat of Ni No Twoni. It was the only thing that rivaled Dragon Ball FighterZ visually but with a combat sort of akin to Kingdom Hearts. Both are going to be great, so each gets a win in their respective category.
BEST INDIE OF E3
Patrick: This one’s gonna be a tie for me between Bloodstained and The Artful Escape. The Artful Escape is an absolutely gorgeous, atmospheric…sort of…puzzle-solving maybe with some action stuff… I don’t know if it’s got action in it. But it takes place in this gorgeous, moody, atmospheric, lavender world, at least from what I played of it, with lots of neon, rock-show type effects added in. Whereas, Bloodstained was everything I wanted to see from a Metroidvania style game. Both of them were gorgeous in different ways and Bloodstained plays so well that I’m going to enjoy the process of jumping and slashing my way through that.
Ryan: I didn’t get a chance to play The Artful Escape, but it looked wonderful. That said, playing Bloodstained, it made me want to play a Metroidvania style game so bad that I’m actually playing through Super Metroid right now. It just felt great and it looked even better. I’m very excited for its release. I can’t wait.
Tim: I’m a (blood) sucker for gothic, action-type games. Bloodstained is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night reborn. It’s sensational. As a side note, how great is it that we have not one Metroidvania game to look forward to, but two since Nintendo is giving us Return of Samus, or, uh, Samus Returns…? I don’t know….
Patrick: If Samus Returns was an indie game, I would have given it to that.
BEST SHOOTER OF E3
Ryan: This is a problem, there were a lot of great shooters at E3 and I only got to play two. It has to be LawBreakers. It was great fun playing with low gravity, trying to complete the objective with these weird classes they’ve made. I absolutely loved what I played. I’m happy that it’s coming so soon!
Patrick: I’m gonna say Splatoon 2. I only played the new mode, Salmon Run, but it felt so good and so different from the rest of the game that it built a ton of confidence that there’s going to be a ton of content coming with this. It’s going to easily rival how great the original Splatoon ended up being, it still feels fantastic, it is still one of the most fun shooters out there.
Tim: The correct answer here is Splatoon 2, and it took everything in my being to force myself into new experiences and to not instantaneously go for what I really wanted to play. But with Battlefront II being a sequel, along with Splatoon and Destiny, which I didn’t get to play, I’m going to give it to something new, and that’s LawBreakers for quite literally pushing the boundaries of what a shooter can be. The gravity-defying combat as they’re calling it is pure genius. While in air, you shoot a gun and you go backwards. That’s great.
HONORABLE MENTIONS AND PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Ryan: I already gave Dragon Ball FighterZ an award, but, my god does it deserve the Best Looking in Show. Everything about it looked absolutely perfect. I can’t help but wonder why it isn’t out right now so I can relive these Dragon Ball Z fights! It looks so good! The trailer doesn’t do it enough justice!
Patrick: It wasn’t my indie pick, but I’m going to highlight a niche title that I stumbled across in the indie-cade called The Case for Distrust. It’s this sort of 1930s, noir style, point-and-click adventure that had this incredible visual style to it. The developer and I talked about its inspiration, the artwork of Saul Bass, who was a poster designer for artists like Hitchcock. There were so many references to old, noir stories, including the Maltese Falcon, it was right up my alley as a movie lover, and I want to see more of it.
Tim: I’m gonna give an award to Sea of Thieves for intriguing me beyond reason. Twenty minutes is not enough time with the game, there’s so much to see, so much to do…so what’s wrong with taking the back street? And now I’m going to go hang myself for that reference. Anyway, yeah, Sea of Thieves seems like it’s going to be amazing.
BEST BOOTH OF E3
Patrick: Nintendo, easy.
Ryan: Yeah, Nintendo.
Tim: *Smash Bros. announcer voice* No contest.
BEST GAME OF E3 2017
Patrick: I’m going to go with Super Mario Odyssey. That’ll come as no surprise to anybody, me being a huge Nintendo fan. But it was genuinely the most fun game I played there.
Ryan: Part of me wants to give it to LawBreakers, but no, Super Mario Odyssey. So much of what I played left me wanting to play more. As soon as you’re done playing, you wanted to hop right back in line and play again. This is going to be a lot of what I play this winter.
Tim: Yeah, we were given a booth tour by Nintendo behind closed doors and I could have picked any game in Nintendo’s lineup to play and I chose to play Odyssey again. That’s how good it was. It brings Mario back to the sandbox of 64 but with a much larger world. You’re never taken out of the experience, even after collecting a moon piece. It’s something new, something different…and you’ve got a cool hat. Anyway, that does it for our Best of E3. Next year we’ll bring actual awards.
Patrick: We’ll bring some cutout Goombas.
Ryan: Tim had the idea of spray painting Goomba amiibo gold.
Tim: Everyone would be like, “What’s that golden Goomba?” It’s like free publicity! And by free I mean the $15 each amiibo costs plus the price of gold spray paint. Either way, I can’t wait for some of these games to come out and for next years E3