The 30 Coolest Games from E3 2016

God of War
1-God-of-War

Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PS4

The God of War gameplay demo was quite possibly the biggest “holy crap” moment for me of the entire week. At its core, the new game seems to still be an over the top gory action-fest, but Sony Santa Monica has clearly taken some inspiration from The Last of Us with the general feel of the characters and interactions between father and son. Apparently Kratos’ son will play an important part of the game, as there’s a button completely devoted to interacting with him. The rumors of this game now tackling Norse mythology also seem to be true, as an enemy utters the word “Valhalla” while fighting Kratos. Overall, the gameplay demo was completely beautiful, and far more contemplative and story focused that I’d expected from a game in this series.

Grow Up
1-Grow-Up

Release Date: August, 2016
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

In a surprise announcement, Ubisoft showed off the sequel to one of my favorite indie games from last year, Grow Home. The short trailer shown for the sequel showed off similar elements to the original, with some new methods of traversal and exploration. I also couldn’t believe a sequel would be ready in just a few short months. Grow Home was such a unique and cute 3D platformer, I’m thrilled to be diving back into that world so soon.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
1-Horizon-Zero-Dawn

Release Date: February 17, 2017
Platforms: PS4

We’ve been seeing Horizon: Zero Dawn for quite a while now, so I’m happy the game’s release is impending. After seeing several gameplay and story trailers over the past year, I wasn’t sure what there was left to show at Sony’s press conference. The answer was “a lot.” Sure, the gameplay shown still fit into the same mold that we’ve already seen, but this year was more focused around the moment to moment gameplay than it was a boss battle. We saw some crafting and item gathering, combat with smaller enemies, and world exploration. And all of it looked beautiful. I was disappointed to see this title slip into 2017, but apparently the wait will be well worth it.

Inside
1-Inside

Release Date: June 29, 2016
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

As a follow up to the indie darling Limbo, Playdead Games is releasing Inside later this month. Limbo was a highly atmospheric platformer with a unique visual style and understated story. Inside seems to follow that same model, to great effect. Not much has been shown of this game, with just a new, somewhat mysterious trailer shown at Microsoft’s press conference this year. Personally, I don’t need to see much of the game to be excited based on the pedigree of the developers, but I still have very little idea as to what you’re actually doing in the game. The platforming elements seem far less important than in Limbo, and I’m afraid that’ll leave very little to actually do in this new game. We’ll see in a few weeks.

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
1-KH-2.8

Release Date: December 31, 2016
Platforms: PS4

The first Kingdom Hearts is counted amongst my favorite games of all time, and while the direct follow up wasn’t quite as successful, I still loved playing it. Having not played any of the handheld spinoffs, I can’t speak to their quality, but one thing they all had in common was making the story completely overwhelming and confusing. Watching the trailer for 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, I had absolutely no idea what was happening. I’m excited for this mostly based on the opportunity to play the 2.8 mentioned in the title, which is supposed to give a glimpse as to the gameplay mechanics we’ll be seeing in Kingdom Hearts 3. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to go read an entire wiki entry just to know what’s going on in the included games.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
1-Legend-of-Zelda

Release Date: 2017
Platforms: Wii U, NX

When Nintendo announced that they’d only be showing the new Zelda title at their steaming event this year, I doubt that I was the only one that was disappointed. With talks of a new console coming soon, I was hoping to see how the game would differ between versions, but we only got some gameplay on the woefully under-powered Wii U. Still, the game looks completely amazing, so it’s not all bad. I think the event was too long for what they wanted to show, but I’m glad we got to see the game being played in real time. The art design is beautiful, and the RPG mechanics actually seem interesting. This definitely still feels like a Zelda game, but one that’s finally been thrust into this generation. I’m not sure this one game will make me want to buy an NX, but it’s certainly making a strong argument.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
1-Mass-Effect

Release Date: March 2017
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

I’ll start off by saying that I was completely disappointed in the amount of Mass Effect: Andromeda shown at this year’s EA conference. Going into E3 week, this was probably the game I was most excited to see, and all we got was some behind the scenes footage and a few seconds of story inspired cutscene. It didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Thankfully, Bioware has said we’ll be seeing more before the end of the year, but it’s even putting their delayed March 2017 release window in doubt. This is still easily one of my most anticipated games, due in large part to their commitment to tell a new story and the gameplay improvements they seem to be making. I’m hoping for a continuation of the awesome multiplayer horde mode premiered in Mass Effect 3, but as long as there are memorable characters, vast worlds to explore, and the same refined combination of shooting and powers combat, I’ll be satisfied. It’s a high bar, but Bioware can reach it.

Pokemon Sun/Moon
1-Pokemon-Sun-Moon

Release Date: November 18, 2016
Platforms: 3DS

I honestly have very little interest in purchasing a 3DS; I don’t game on the go and to show off how up to date I am on handheld gaming, I’m currently playing through Leaf Green on my DS for the tenth time. With that being said, I’m always interested in learning more when a new Pokemon game is announced, and thankfully Nintendo decided to add Pokemon to their live stream event after originally stating the only game present would be Zelda. They certainly spent too much time walking the player through the “new” features of the game, and most of them don’t seem particularly different or interesting. All in all, this just seems like a Pokemon game with a new cast of characters and pokemon to catch, which may or may not be enough. So far, the creatures shown have been cool, which is a vast improvement over some of the previous generations. I’m still disappointed in the lack of a complete 3D world and better graphics, but hopefully some day we’ll get a full blown Pokemon RPG on a Nintendo home console. We can dream.

Prey
1-Prey

Release Date: 2017
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

I never played the original Prey when it was released, not having a gaming PC at the time. I’ve heard mixed things about the game. In general it seems that people enjoyed the shooting and world, but found the story to be lacking and the gameplay to be repetitive with lackluster boss fights. It looks like the new title is a complete revamp of the name. It’s neither a sequel nor a re-imagining of the original title. I think this is a smart move, because calling it Prey 2 would only incite the question “do I need to play the first game?” While we only saw a story trailer with some mock gameplay, I’m very excited to see this game come together. The concept is interesting, and with the talented team at Arkane developing it, I’m confident this will be cool. After several scrapped iterations over the years, it looks like fans of the original game will finally get their spiritual successor.

ReCore
1-Recore

Release Date: September 13, 2016
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

When ReCore was first announced last year, I was impressed by the visual style and creative team. The creator, Keiji Inafune, is responsible for bringing Mega Man and Onimusha into the world, so it was easy to take notice of his newest game. This year, we were given some actual gameplay from ReCore, and a release date. I was shocked that the game would be coming so soon, because it seemed like such an ambitious title when originally announced, and it was being made by a relatively small team. It seems like the scope of the game is smaller than that first cinematic trailer implied, but that doesn’t make me any less excited. The gameplay ability to utilize different skilled mechs to solve puzzles sounds very interesting, and I like the style of the game. In our industry of sometimes 3-4 year marketing cycles, it’s always worth celebrating when a game is announced and then releases just a year later.

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