Every gamer won at this year’s E3, with a record number of games being announced, and pretty much all of them looking great.
I had a solid three days of back to back appointments to see everything that had just been announced at the respective press conferences (as well as few special appointments prior) and I genuinely didn’t play anything that I didn’t have at least a little bit of an interest in playing at the time of release.
Obviously, I’ll be doing in-depth hands on previews for most of what I saw and played at E3, but I just wanted to do a quick wrap up of everything I saw as well some quick fire impressions. I’ve clearly marked which games I actually played, which games I got to see extended gameplay for and which games I was showed an extended look at (similar to what was shown at the press conference).
I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan, but I’m fairly confident that this is going to overtake the Batman: Arkham series as the best superhero game. I got to play an open-world portion of the game, tackling a number of side-missions. The web-swinging felt awesome, making getting from one point of the map to another absolutely seamless. The combat also felt great, complete with contextual object combat. Spidey’s gadgets were also fun to use, and added an extra layer to combat.
SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE (PLAYED)
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is every bit as good as you’d expect. The core gameplay has remained the same, but some minor additions to speed make the game feel just as frantic as ever. The Pro Controller felt really great to use and both the Inkling as well as Ridley were fun to play as. READ OUR FULL SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE PREVIEW.
DYING LIGHT 2 (HANDS-OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
Dying Light has been one of the most successful new IPs of this generation and the team is going way bigger for Dying Light 2. Surprisingly, the main focus is actually on narrative, with the story team growing by four times and including writers from franchises such as The Witcher. I got to see how narrative choices affect the world greatly, and obviously combat is more badass than ever. The game will now have four player co-op too, which is set to up the anti ten-fold.
POKEMON LET’S GO PIKACHU/EEVEE (PLAYED)
One of the games I was most eager to play. Obviously, I knew what to expect going in, but it felt even more simplistic getting my hands on it. I got to play with the Pokeball Joy-Con, but being able to see which Pokemon you were encountering, and then literally needing to throw a ball to catch it, definitely took some of the fun out of it. I got to go through some trainer battles too, which are exactly what you’d expect. Stylistically, the game looks fantastic, and Kanto is probably the only region . that could get me excited, so I’m looking forward to it
I probably spent more time with Dreams than any other game and it was completely necessary. In order to grasp what this game is (I still feel as though I’m touching the surface), you’ll need to spend a lot of time with it. It’s basically Little Big Planet on steroids, with no limits to what you can create. Dream Surfing throws you into a variety of creations, but it’s the creation tool that stole the show. To put it into context, the music creation tools in this game, is deeper than any other total creation tool in any other game.
SPYRO THE DRAGON: REGINITED TRILOGY (PLAYED)
Spyro looks absolutely gorgeous, but I was a little bit disappointed with the game as a whole. Whilst Crash still held up, I’m a little bit worried for this one just based on the fact that the gameplay wasn’t anywhere near as appealing. I got to play two platforming levels and a flying level, and honestly, it felt like an old game with a new lick of paint.
DAYS GONE (PLAYED)
Days Gone is probably the one Sony exclusive that won’t break too many boundaries. I got to play two different demoes. One was more story based and slow-paced, and forced me to go searching inside a variety of locations in order to find something, whilst the second was all about the horde. Fighting literally 100s of Freakers (zombies) was a tough challenge, and also insanely fun. If there’s heaps of these unique moments in the game, then I can see it being impressive, but it does feel a little bit confused in terms of what type of game it wants to be. Regardless, the open-world feels impressive, and the game looks beautiful, so it’ll no doubt be a fun time.
JUST CAUSE 4 (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
When I found out that Just Cause 4 was being developed by Avalanche’s New York studio, I was hoping for some significant changes and that’s exactly what I got in the roughly thirty minutes of gameplay that I saw. Everything is more chaotic in Just Cause 4 with a brand new physics system. I got to see a tornado literally wreak havoc through a city as well as an airport, taking absolutely everything in its path with it. This wasn’t some on-screen effect, but it was literally taking everything through the world with it.
KINGDOM HEARTS III (PLAYED)
I’ve never played Kingdom Hearts, but I think I’m going to have to after playing this. I got to play both the Toy Story world as well as take part in a Hercules boss battle and both were epic, I know you’re not surprised, but I was definitely surprised with just how good these worlds look. The battles were as insane as you’d expect, and even as a newcomer, I was easily able to get a grasp on the many combat mechanics.
METRO: EXODUS (PLAYED)
Open-world games definitely weren’t lacking at this year’s E3, but there was something about Metro. Whilst this demo was definitely at an early stage, the gunplay felt probably better than anything else that I got hands on with. Fans of Metro will know that ammo is hard to come by, and things were no different here. I have a few doubts about the open-world feeling too empty, and things like rowing the boat felt a little clunky, but the foundation is there.
FIFA 19 (PLAYED)
My E3 kicked off with playing FIFA 19. I know that most of you probably wouldn’t be excited to hear about FIFA 19, but I’m a fairly avid FIFA gamer, so was keen to go hands-on with the latest title. It felt incredibly familiar on PS4, with the UEFA Champions League obviously being a big deal. On Switch though, it was a noticeable improvement and much more in-line with the other console versions, both from a gameplay point of view as well as graphical standpoint.
BATTLEFIELD V (PLAYED)
Battlefield V looked absolutely phenomenal. I got to play the Grand Operations mode which is essentially spread over five days (I only got to play the first three days). Gunplay felt as good as you’d expected, air combat felt epic and the missions spread across the three days were genuinely intense and well varied.
NBA LIVE 19 (PLAYED)
I’ve not played much NBA Live in the last few years, but it felt a lot better than last year’s iteration. I was playing with some hardcore NBA fans who all agreed that the game looked way more natural, and the street gameplay was massively better than any NBA Live game of recent time.
ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS (PLAYED)
One of my unexpected games of the show. Absolutely stunning to look at, and the added combat abilities really take the game to the next level. It’s one of the games that I started playing at Microsoft’s showcase and genuinely didn’t want to stop playing.
FORZA HORIZON 4 (PLAYED)
Racing games aren’t really my fortray, but the Forza Horizon series is one I can get into. The demo was all about showcasing the four seasons and obviously, the game looks pretty damn great. Whilst Forza Horizon 3 felt special for obvious reasons, and it’ll be hard to top for us Aussies, Horizon 4 will be one of the best games to showcase the Xbox One X.
RAGE 2 (PLAYED)
RAGE 2 definitely slipped under the radar with so many good games being announced at E3 this year, but it’s a great mix of DOOM x Mad Max and promises to be a lot of fun when it comes out next year. The gunplay as well as the new abilities felt really good and whilst I didn’t get to try road combat, it looks like it’ll be pretty damn good. READ OUR FULL RAGE 2 PREVIEW.
SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER (PLAYED)
I got to play about 30 minutes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The demo showcased exploration, puzzles and a bunch of combat. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the next Tomb Raider game and teased Lara having some severe conflict with the characters that you’ve come to love over the last two games. There was also a pretty big emphasis on puzzle solving, which is much appreciated.
ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY (PLAYED)
I played over an hour of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and it’s pretty damn great. The setting is gorgeous, the new narrative options add a lot to the story and killing people was just as fun as ever. Naval combat is back and was a big part of this demo and the new 150v150 battles are epic. READ OUR FULL AC ODYSSEY PREVIEW.
THE DIVISION 2 (PLAYED)
Another surprise of the show. The Division 2 is definitely looking to right all the wrongs of the first game. Washington DC looks stunning, and the gunplay feels much better than in the first game. Enemies are no longer bullet sponges, and you feel like they’re well balanced and don’t take too many bullets to go down. READ OUR FULL THE DIVISION 2 PREVIEW
SHADOWS DIE TWICE (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
I got to see about half an hour of Shadows Die Twice gameplay and it looks like absolutely everything that a Souls fan would want. It’s the same ridiculously hard gameplay, with a Japanese setting. The lead character can grow all kinds of weapons out of his arm, and can easily zip around the levels.
THE LAST OF US PART II (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
Probably the best showing for me, but unfortunately didn’t get to see much else in my behind closed door sessions. Was just the same trailer with a Naughty Dog dev apparently playing through the mission, but there were no differences to what we saw at the press conference.
GHOSTS OF TSUSHIMA (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
Similarly to The Last Of Us, I was treated to an extended look of Ghosts, with a Sucker Punch dev constantly stopping throughout the demo, giving us different perspectives into this glorious world. A lot of work has been put into this game and it feels right in terms of the balance historical accuracy intertwined with things that have been altered to make a better game.
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL 2 (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
I got to see some co-op action of Beyond Good and Evil 2 and it looks pretty damn great. Everything in the world is drivable and it looks like the most ambitious open-world game to ever be created. The developers kept zooming out on the world, which went from countries, to planets, to solar systems and the possibilities are literally endless.
SKULL AND BONES (PLAYED)
I loved Skull and Bones last year. The last demo I played was pure 5v5 gameplay, where this was more sandboxy, not too dissimilar to Sea of Thieves, except it already seems like there’s way more to do and way more purpose within the world. It feels similar to Assassin’s Creed’s naval combat and that’s a good thing.
Starlink is obviously aimed at kids, but I got to play the game on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch and genuinely had a great time. The actual game world feels similar to No Man’s Sky, but does exploration of fauna/flora better than that game did at launch. I got to play as Fox in the Switch version, which felt really damn good, and quite frankly better than any recent Star Fox game.
THE ELDER SCROLLS BLADES (PLAYED)
Honestly was taken back by just how fun this is. It’s obviously a dumbed down version of Elder Scrolls, but it’s free and I can see it taking off like wildfire once it releases. It looks absolutely gorgeous on iPhone X and the way it goes from portrait/landscape dynamically is something I’ve never seen an iPhone before.
One of my games of the show. Clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda; A Link To The Past, this ID@Xbox game has been created by mostly one person, and is not only gorgeous, but looks like a genuinely fun time. You go through this isometric world as a Fox, who finds a number of weapons in his quest to reach the end of the game.
PES 18 (PLAYED)
I’m more of a FIFA players over PES, but usually play a little bit of PES to see what the differences are and PES looks to be a lot better this year from a presentation point of view. It also feels a lot more realistic than FIFA, which is obviously the route they’re going down as a point of difference.
HYPER SPORTS R (PLAYED)
I got to play a very early of this surprise Konami game on Nintendo Switch. It was obviously early, but still a lot of fun. I got to try out both the 100m sprint as well as the Javelin throw, and both were incredibly simple but it was fun trying to beat the times of the other journos. It’s obviously going to come down to price for this one.
CYBERPUNK 2077 (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
Obviously the game that everyone was talking about both at E3 and around the world. The 50 minute gameplay demo was only available by appointment and boy was it worth it. I got treated to a healthy dose of narrative, gameplay and world details and it’s made me thirsty for the game. The gunplay looks fantastic, the world looks expansive and the characters in the game are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. This could be the game of the generation and it’s going to be a painful wait.
STRANGE BRIGADE (PLAYED)
I got to play this last year and not a lot has changed. It’s essentially Call Of Duty’s Zombies mode in third person. It’ll be most fun played in co-op, which is exactly what I did this year. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, and has over the top super powers and weapons.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS IIII (PLAYED)
I wasn’t a massive COD fan until I played World War II last year, so this game had massive shoes to fill. It seems that it has found a good balance of futuristic gameplay whilst still staying grounded. The gunplay feels fantastic and whilst power sliding is important, it’s nothing like the ridiculous flying through the sky that we’ve seen in Infinite Warfare and the like.
THE AWESOME ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN SPIRIT (HANDS OFF GAMEPLAY DEMO)
I got to see the first thirty minutes of the game and it looks every bit as intriguing as the other two Life is Strange games. It’s a sneak peak at Life Is Strange 2 with a bunch of new mechanics that have been introduced.