E3 might be over but we still have loads of coverage on the way. The Goomba Stomp crew is back from Los Angeles and we will be publishing many more articles with impressions of all the games we played at this year’s convention. In the meantime, we have compiled a list of our most anticipated games from this year’s gala. Enjoy!
Inspired and influenced by the original Cyberpunk 2020 pen and paper RPG, CD Projekt Red’s ambitious new project is not just my most anticipated game from E3, but quite possibly my most anticipated game ever. The trailer that premiered during the Microsoft press conference blew my socks off and, in my opinion, might just be greatest demo in the history of E3. Cyberpunk 2077 is a behemoth of a game, an open world RPG even bigger that The Witcher 3 and with possible multiplayer features on top of hundreds of hours of single-player roleplaying. And, if that isn’t impressive enough, it’s also a first-person shooter with no load times (at least, according to the devs). It’s a game that seems years a head of its time and far beyond the ambitions of anything presented at this year’s convention. Only time will tell if the game lives up to the hype, but based on the visuals alone, Cyberpunk 2077 may be one of the greatest games ever made. (Ricky D)
The Division 2
Surprisingly it took a lot of consideration to determine my game of the show. Gears Tactics, Dying Light 2, The Last of Us: Part 2 and Shadow of the Tombraider all piqued my interest, but at the end of the day, it had to go to The Division 2. The original Division made waves when it was first showcased at E3. It toted truly mindboggling visuals and an open world full of opportunity. On release, The Division was nothing like its original showing; a far less impressive world, with repetitive enemy design and a lack of dynamic combat. For many, this sealed the deal, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the final product. As I’ve learned in my own attempts with game development, it’s hard to include every element you envisioned in your new I.P. However second time around, most games live up to their full potential, think Assassin’s Creed 2 and Uncharted 2. The Division 2 looks to be what the series’ first E3 demo promised, astounding visuals in a dynamic and tactical world. Considering how much I enjoyed the first game, I can’t wait to see the series really make a dent next year. (Chris Bowring)
“Fuck Fallout 76”
That was my reaction when I heard the game was to be a multiplayer Survival game. In an instant, I’d done a complete flip since hearing of its existence and any trace of excitement at the prospect of another game in the futuristic 50’s like dystopic ‘hell hole’ that is Fallout 4 had completely evaporated.
So it was with a morbid curiosity, rather than interest that I tuned into the Bethesda E3 conference to see the damage for myself. Did I want a MMO Fallout? Hell no… Those games are special because the player is special. Every time you add a player to that formula, you dilute the experience and remove the secret sauce that makes these games so enjoyable… but as Tod Howard began telling us about the game and ‘Country Roads’ kicked into life, I found myself captivated and dare I say excited about the idea of surviving in the wasteland with a group of friends. Building one of those self-packing ‘lunch box’ houses and hunting rare materials to help me discover some nuclear codes could if done right be absolutely fantastic.
Other than the building mechanics, the first thing to really jump out is how great the game looks. Howard claims that Fallout 76 is 4 times bigger than Fallout 4 and 16 times more detailed. Environments are more vibrant than ever and peering across the landscape, players will be able to see different weather patterns in different areas of the map. The game also promises an engaging story, as well as the ability to play in groups and against my better judgement, this has me very excited.
Over the last few months, I’ve grown to appreciate the value of a great multiplayer experience. Games like Overwatch, Destiny, Sea of Thieves and Fortnite have allowed me to keep in touch with friends as the rigours of daily life mean that I lack the same amount of free time as I once did and although it’s still early days, I am hoping that Fallout 76 can become one of our go-to games.
Of course, there are always concerns about these things. There presumably won’t be any V.A.T.S., and Bethesda are yet to make a game of this nature that isn’t broken in some way, but the groundwork is set and coming out of E3, there’s no other game that has left a mark on me quite like this and I can’t wait to see more. (David Smile)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem is in a precarious spot. The massive success of Awakening completely reinvigorated the series and catapulted it into Nintendo’s staple of AAA franchises. However, the subsequent cash-grabby strategy of releasing three Fates iterations (unlike Pokémon, you needed to play at least two to get the full story) managed to segment that new player base soon after. Fire Emblem Three Houses is the franchise’s first time on consoles since the Wii, and in many ways, it feels like the team knows they have to go all out to regain goodwill and take full advantage of the new hardware. Thankfully, Three Houses looks like it’s received a host of significant improvements across the board.
While battles in Fire Emblem have always been thrilling tactical affairs, it was a bit strange to only see 1v1 fights on a battlefield supposedly populated by tons of troops. With the power of the Switch, Three Houses visually represents hordes of unit-specific fighters attacking alongside you. It can’t be overstated just how cool of an upgrade this is for a franchise knocking on 30.
Utilizing the extra power of the Switch is a theme here; bland battlefield environments aside, the game has received a massive visual overhaul across the board. Character portraits now sport the HD sheen of a modern Disgaea game. My Castle from Fates seems to be back complete with a shiny new third-person perspective that looks absolutely beautiful. And naturally, we can now enjoy Fire Emblem’s stellar cinematics in high definition.
For as much as we know about this new entry, there’re also a ton of unknowns. Is the marriage mechanic returning (please)? Will there be time traveling kids again (please)? Will this be a linear experience or one where player choice can affect the outcome of the story? Fire Emblem is somewhat notorious for its DLC rollout; how will that look this time around? Despite all the question marks, one thing is certain—I can’t wait to see more in an upcoming Direct.
The Last of Us Part 2
Few games manage to balance thoughtful and emotional storytelling with engaging gameplay and in-depth mechanics. Of the few examples that happen to pull it off, it’s pretty easy to argue that The Last of Us, originally released for the PlayStation 3 in 2013. While the sequel, the appropriately titled The Last of Us Part II, has been teased with various trailers since late 2016, it hasn’t been until this year’s recent E3 demonstration that the public got a chance to see how the game would play. If the presented “gameplay” trailer is any indication, Part II promises to be the same mix of thoughtful and emotional narrative and brutal, unflinching acts of horrific violence.
This is a very good thing.
One of the important things that the original game accomplished was giving meaning to violence. It’s a game that began with the death of a major character – one that you actually play as in the introduction. This immediately introduces us to a world where death has meaning, meaning that resonates throughout the rest of the experience, both in gameplay and in the story. It’s not easy to kill people in The Last of Us. It is draining, mentally and physically to the characters and players. In a lot of ways, it asks the protagonist, and by extension ourselves, what you would be willing to do for the ones you love. Would you kill strangers? Kill friends? Kill… well, everybody? Joel’s decision to essentially doom mankind for the sake of one stand-in daughter figure forces us to consider our lives and choices in a way few video games are brave enough to present.
It looks to be another wonderful, miserable ride where every choice has meaning, and every failure has consequences, both in gameplay and story. And I am mostly hoping that Joel says “clickers” a lot. (Katrina Lind)
Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight
Despite all of the fantastic entries that were shown off at this year’s E3, none of them truly had me as excited as the two Persona dancing games that were confirmed for a localization next year. Persona is one of my favorite game franchises, so the fact that the two games were released in Japan with no localization in sight had been tearing me apart. Now that there are confirmed release dates, as well as the English voice actors reprising their roles in the brand new character interactions, I can’t wait to dive back into Persona one more time. Persona 4 Dancing All Night is a guilty pleasure of mine since the premise was so ridiculous yet effective considering how stellar the Persona soundtracks are. The brand new games replace the traditional story modes with a “commu” mode, which lets the players interact with their party members similar to a traditional social link. I can’t wait to see the characters in each group conversing more casually with one another, which was something that I felt was sorely missing from both Persona 3 and 5 compared to Persona 4. The dances also look incredibly impressive and well-choreographed, showing off each character’s personalities through their moves. There seems to be a surprising amount of depth as well, with many different costumes and accessories to unlock as well as the various difficulty modes found in the two entries. The brand new character models and settings look phenomenal, with the Persona 3 characters, in particular, looking fantastic compared to their last 3D outings on the PS2 and 3DS. I’ve only heard a couple of the remixes and tracks included in the two games, but I can safely say that this will be a day one purchase for me as a fan of both Persona and rhythm games. (Ed Moreno)
Resident Evil 2 Remake
I’m a die-hard Capcom fan. I practically grew up playing Mega Man, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and plenty of other Capcom classics from every console generation. Resident Evil 2 is one of my favorite games on the original PlayStation as well as one of my favorite classic Resident Evil titles. It fixed a lot of things from the original, including the writing (sort of), pacing, environments (there were a lot less shadowless neon-colored walls), and gameplay. I was a mix of excited and skeptical when I first saw the announcement video back in 2015. Resident Evil 7 had yet to come out, so the only real games to compare it to were the HD port of REmake and Revelations 2. I love the classic style of survival horror, but I don’t know if I would have trusted Capcom to pull off a game with fixed camera angles and tank-controls in this day and age, but at the same time the fast-paced action of Revelations 2 doesn’t feel like a good fit for a game like Resident Evil 2. What Capcom unveiled this past week feels like the perfect middle ground. An over the should camera can be used to great effect to build up tension when used properly and can create some interesting situations when combined with the tight corridors of the Raccoon Police Department,
I’m loving how the game has visually turned out. There’s a lot of things reminiscent of the original map from over 20 years ago, but there’s plenty of little updates too…like the reception desk actually being at the front of the station instead of behind the big, obstructing, angel statue. The demo only went into the police station, but the trailer gives us a glimpse at some of the other areas in the game, and it seems that dim-lighting, claustrophobic hallways, and a muted color palette are all consisted throughout. These are all things reminiscent of what makes Resident Evil 7’s visual design so good. I hope that we will continue to see and hear good things about REmake 2 as it continues development. (Taylor Smith)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
When Shadows Die Twice was first teased in a couple of short trailers, speculation mounted that it might be Bloodborne 2, or another amalgam of the Souls series that From Software’s Hidetaka Miyazaki put on hiatus in 2016.
While this bit of wishful thinking turned out to be just that, it didn’t stop Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice from turning in a show-stopping debut at E3 2018. Sure, it may not be the new hit of Dark Souls heroin that fans have been pining for, but the game does contain enough of the series’ trademark DNA to be instantly recognizable as a From Software title.
However, where Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice sets itself apart from its forebears is in its emphasis on lightning fast action. Even as Souls mainstays like the ability to return from death and towering bosses make their return, this game seems to be putting the kind of emphasis on white-knuckle action that would put even Bloodborne to shame.
It is, of course, worth mentioning that From Software did also work on the Tenchu series from back in the day, and Miyazaki (who is helming the project) has mentioned that stint in the world of ninjas as an influence on the development of Sekiro, though he stresses that this is a new and unique franchise.
Still with a permanent, story-centric main character, and no RPG elements revealed as of yet, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is as unlikely a Souls follow-up as we might have imagined. Let’s hope it still kicks ass, and picks up the ball that Team Ninja dropped when they tried this last year with Nioh. (Mike Worby)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks absolutely amazing. I had my expectations going into the Direct about how Smash would be handled, but nothing prepared me for the absolute bedlam of pure Nintendo charm that would engulf nearly half of the Nintendo’s E3 presentation. All the fascinating details that we received about Ultimate didn’t seem seem like unnecessary padding, but like an avalanche of incredible information that has put the community’s hype train at full speed once again. From the return of every single character that’s ever been in a Smash game (Snake!) to the introduction of Ridley, a character that Director Masahiro Sakurai had long decried as “too big” for Smash, every second of the Direct revealed new information about Ultimate in a volume that even Super Smash Bros. for Wii U did not surpass.
In that way, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feels like a Smash fan’s dream come true. With the resurrection of Melee’s hallowed directional air dodge to the rebalancing of perennially-bad characters, such as Ganondorf, Ultimate looks poised to fuse the hardcore base of Melee with the accessibility of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and, in the process, create the most balanced Smash experience yet. For a Smash fanbase that has been fractured since the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008, Ultimate seems like the perfect game to bridge the gap. With more details yet to surface (come on, story mode!), there’s more than enough to get excited about with the latest entry in the Smash series, one that can finally be taken anywhere and played with anyone, anywhere. (Izsak Barnette)