It is that time of year once more. All of the E3 conferences have been held by their respective titans of the gaming industry, and what a set of conferences they were. I won't be diving into the varying degrees of good and bad in the actual presentation of the conferences here today, I will simply be talking about my absolute favourite games that were either announced or detailed further. This E3 has been so densely rich with amazing games that I will be splitting my rundown of E3 into 3 parts, fitting I know. This is part 1 of my favourite games featuring my top 7 showings from the conferences. Tomorrow I will post the second part of my favourites, another 7 games that just fall shy of the incredible bar set by the games I will talk about today. Then the day after I will summarise the 9 games that have interested me but I don't so much excitement that I am counting down the days to release day. With all that out of the way, sit back and relax, because do we have some amazing games to talk about!
Ever since the release of Witcher 3 and its subsequent expansions I have had a love affair with CD Projekt Red. In the years since the credits rolled on my adventure with the Witcher 3 I have been waiting and hoping that every new conference or gaming event would bring new information on their next game; Cyberpunk 2077. That glorious day finally arrived, when Cyberpunk got pride of place, and closed the Xbox Showcase a few days ago. They released a trailer just under two minutes long, but that was all it took to become my favourite game of E3 2018. Since the trailer released CDPR have said a few important things, firstly, and I'm paraphrasing here, they decided to show a trailer from daytime in game because it is easy to make a noir cyberpunk game look good a night, while it raining and filled with neon. They have said that the game will have a naturally progressing day-night cycle, and that the world will aesthetically change based on the time of day. The second reveal is that the game will be played in First Person, yes Cyberpunk 2077 is an FPS. The reasoning behind this decision is, and again I'm paraphrasing, that there is so much detail that the developers want you to be up close and personal with the world. The world is said to be far more vertical than the Witcher 3, with high-rise buildings covering the landscape of Night City, at least some of which have multiple floors that are fully explorable and will lead to increased understanding of Night City lore and well as the potential to discover side quests. It has also been revealed that there will be full character creation at the start of the game, with fully voiced gender options. Regardless of the gender you choose to play as, your name is V. After the relatively limited visual customisation of Geralt in the Witcher games, it will be a refreshing change of pace to be able to have a large amount of control over the character that you will be playing in Cyberpunk 2077.
We are still yet to know even a loose release window for Cyberpunk 2077, though my personal estimate is that we won't be getting our hands on this game until 2020, though who knows they could stun everyone next E3 and announce a late 2019 release date, stranger things have happened!
Next up is Assassin's Creed Odyssey, shown off during the Ubisoft conference, we got our first gameplay of this years entry into the AC franchise. I must say even though Assassin's Creed Origins is still sat on my backlog pile of shame, Odyssey looks absolutely incredible and I'm desperate to play it. It is further embracing the RPG elements that have been slowly introduced over the last few iterations of the series, this time introducing dialogue options that are said to have an impact on the story and characters. As well as this Ubisoft have announced they are introducing romance/relationship options into dialogue, which from initial gameplay appear with a heart icon next to the dialogue option. They have also said that regardless of which gender you choose when starting the game, yes there are two fully voiced genders to choose from, you are able to romance any of the possible targets of your affection, meaning you aren't tied down in terms of options by the gender choice you make at the start of the game.
These new options are all given space in the gorgeous new massive open world of Greece in 431BCE and the map features large expanses of water that can be traversed on your battle ship, with sea combat returning to boot, the open seas are your once more to find new pieces of gear, secrets and hidden islands. Suffice to say I am very excited for the next leap forward in the Assassin's Creed franchise. Odyssey launches worldwide on PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 5th.
Spider-Man. Easily the single player highlight of this year for me, beating out the above mentioned Odyssey. This game appeals to me on two fronts, firstly the nostalgia I feel towards this type of game as I grew up on the PlayStation 2 Spider-Man game, in which I progressed the story a very small amount and spent most of my time swinging around the city and discovering new things to do. Even if the rest of the game didn't appeal to me I would still want to play it for the nostalgic reasons. Thankfully the second front is that this genuinely looks like a masterfully made game.
I have struck a balance between not wanting to spoil the game but also being desperate to see more of the game, so I haven't seen all of the gameplay that has been released over the last few days, but suffice to say the gameplay I have seen along with the impressions I have read leaves me with total confidence that this will be a brilliant game. I don't know too much about the story, and I want to keep it that way, but I do know that the main villain is Mr Negative, which is something I'm very happy with. As someone who hasn't read the comics much at all I know very little about Negative, I'm excited to learn more about the antagonist as the game progresses, I'm pleased that the Green Goblin isn't the primary antagonist of the game, even though he is rumoured to be a part of it, as I have seen quite enough of him from all of the films, and respective reboots.
Spider-Man launches exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on September 7th. I will say now that the only thing stopping me from getting this day 1 is the fact that the new Destiny expansion is releasing three days before, and alas my home base of gaming calls me first, rest assured I will be playing this and writing about it this year.
I would have to say that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was my favourite game of E3 2017. The world they showed off, the characters that were memorable to me after only a short trailer, and the principle of a whole galaxy to explore(despite faux ptsd after No Man's Sky) had me totally hooked. I tuned in for the occasional Dev stream that showed off bits and pieces of the game, but other than that I have been waiting for E3 to see more of the game. What was shown off along with some extra details has totally sold me on the concept of this game, and I couldn't be more excited for its eventual release. To mention the biggest announcement from E3, HitRecord teaming up with Ubisoft to basically help populate this huge world. Fans of the game from around world can contribute to the game in various ways, whether it is art, music or written there is a wide range of projects that anyone can contribute to on the Hitrecord website. This is a concept that is really fascinating to me, the idea that the smaller details of the game are basically being crowd produced, ensuring that the same few dozen aren't playing in every bar, taxi or radio around the galaxy. Aside from this a new cinematic trailer was shown, along with a montage of gameplay, both of which look absolutely stunning and only make the wait for the eventual release even harder.
I'm not entirely sure what to say about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I'm very excited to see what the next game by From Software will shape up to be, but there is a lot left up in the air from the short trailer shown during the Xbox conference. I'd like to assume that Sekiro will feature a similar style of combat that has been used in the Soulsborne series, but I'm not sure. This game unequivocally has my attention, but I'd summarise my feelings towards it as a mix of excitement and intrigue. There are many details of this game that are yet to be known, including when we will be playing it, suffice to say that I will be keeping my eye very closely on this one.
Because one samurai game isn't enough, we got our first gameplay from the next game from developers Sucker Punch. I've been excited about this game ever since they revealed the first trailer at Paris Games Week last year. While the gameplay demo was undoubtedly fantastic, with a seemingly perfect blend of amazing visuals and tight combat there is a part of me that is a touch disappointed by the gameplay reveal of this game. I think this stems from the fact that it appears to be pretty much exactly what I was expecting from it, perhaps this sounds stupid but I think I would have preferred a trailer looking more generally at the story overview, the characters and the world and what we can do it it, somewhat like the 101 trailers that Ubisoft have done for their games in the past. It is maybe not helped by the fact that between Tsushima, Sekiro and Nioh 2 this E3 has more than had its fill of Samurai games. This all isn't to say that I'm not still excited by the game, I absolutely am. I would just say that this gameplay reveal sprinkled a dash of water on the flame of my excitement for the game.
There is still nothing close to a release date for Ghost of Tsushima, but my guess would be in the first three or four months on 2020.
The severe issues relating to the structure of the PlayStation conference not withstanding, The Last of Us Part II was the most incredible way of opening their E3 conference. We got our first look at direct gameplay, a combination of combat and stealth, as well as a slow dancing cut scene, in which a relationship between Ellie and Dina is established. My ears were pricked up at the mention of the nameless "father figure" of Ellie, who I can only assume, and hope, is Joel. Hopefully meaning that Joel will still be a large part of the narrative structure of the game, despite the speculation that he had died between the events of TLoU and TLoU Part 2. The actual gameplay that was shown was easily the best graphics in gameplay I've ever seen, and even though it was running on a PS4 Pro, I wouldn't be surprised at all if this game is being "saved" as a launch title for the PS5 in what I assume will be 2020. I say 2020 because we still have no release date so it won't be this year, and even 2019 feels to soon for where I think this game is in the development cycle. Though I could very easily be wrong. Speaking of the gameplay I want to write another post soon(tm) about violence in games today, it was highlighted to me during the demo for TLoU Part 2 when there was some pretty gratuitous stuff going on, and while I am still very excited for the game, it will in all likelihood be playing it day 1, I do feel I'd like to discuss the prevalence of strong violence in games, but that's for another day.
While we don't feel anywhere near to the release of The Last of Us Part 2, every time Naughty Dog show off a new part of the game, I am reminded why they are rightfully called one of the very best developers in the world, and I would say THE best developer working on PlayStation exclusive games today.
There you go guys, part 1 of my favourite games of E3 2018. I really do think this has been one of the best E3 shows of the last couple of years, and felt to me like the beginning of the end of this generation of consoles. If that is right then this generation will be going out with some truly incredible games. Tune back in soon to read part 2, as well as my overview of some of the games that don't excite me in the ways these games do!
Thanks for reading,
Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!