The Top 20 Coolest Games at E3 2015

Now that we’re two weeks after E3, I thought it might be fun to reflect on what I thought the coolest games were at the show. Obviously, I wasn’t lucky enough to attend or play anything, so I’m going off of the trailers and gameplay shown at the press conferences and on the floor in the following days. There are A TON of games to look forward to, but I narrowed my list down to 20. This includes anything that we at least got a trailer for. The ranking is by two factors:

1. What we specifically saw at this year’s show
2. My general excitement for the game overall

I didn’t give any weight to release dates or targeted platform, these are just the 20 games I’m most excited to play over the next couple of years. I’ll have an additional post coming soon that highlights five “first person experience” type games that are upcoming, so they won’t be included on this list. This post contains games 20-11, with the top 10 coming later this week! I hope you enjoy, and let me know what games you’re most excited for!

20. Just Cause 3


What kind of game is this? Open world, over-the-top 3rd person shooter.
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Terrible pun inbound: Let’s start this list off with a bang! Just Cause 3 looks to be completely insane and over the top, which is nothing less than what you’d expect. The addition of the grappling hook that can connect to basically anything in the world, the wingsuit, and high fidelity explosions going off every ten seconds definitely makes this game one to look forward to. I, for one, couldn’t be less interested in the story, however. I just want to grapple onto a helicopter, jump onto a jet, dive off, wingsuit down to a convertible, and drive it into an explosive tanker, all while throwing unlimited C4 over my shoulder. It’s gonna be amazing.

19. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


What kind of game is this? 3rd person shooter RPG with optional stealth mechanics.
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 2016

I never really got into Deus Ex: Human Revolution — it just slipped through the cracks in my schedule. But the little bit that I played really impressed me. I’m not the type of gamer that likes to stealth through everything and reload a checkpoint if I get caught. I’ll stealth until shit hits the fan, but then I’m going in guns blazing. Human Revolution focused more on limiting you to one choice or the other, so I’m glad to see Mankind Divided speaking to people like me, people that like to live in both the stealth and combat worlds. The developers are saying that you can get a completely kill-free playthrough if you spec your character in the right way, which is a pretty cool feature. Hopefully, my schedule is open when this game comes out, because it begs to be played more than once.

18. Until Dawn


What kind of game is this? Choice-based horror/adventure game.
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4
Release Date: August 25, 2015

For years I’ve been waiting for a game that lets you play as a murderer hunting down stupid, naked teenagers. And although Until Dawn takes the more popular “play as the teenagers” route, it still looks mighty pretty and terrifying. I’m a wuss when it comes to horror games. I had a headache for a week after playing P.T. because of all the tension it made me hold in my shoulders. But something about Until Dawn piques my curiosity more than an average “jump scare” horror game would. The mechanics seem fairly light (think Telltale’s The Walking Dead series), but the character animations and general mood of the setting really make you feel like you’re witnessing the horror first-hand. And similar to Heavy Rain, there isn’t a game over state if one of the characters die, that just affects the rest of your playthrough. I plan on letting everyone die just to see what happens. That’s kind of messed up, huh?

17. Cuphead


What kind of game is this? Side-scrolling beat-em-up focused solely on boss fights.
Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Xbox One, Windows
Release Date: Early 2016

Cuphead is one of the most unique looking games I’ve ever seen. The animation is straight out of a Disney cartoon from the 30’s, but the gameplay is more in line with classic boss battles a la Kirby or Contra. The game is marketed as being quite tough, with imaginative boss battles featuring a variety of different gameplay elements. And there’s co-op, too! I love how the developers have combined the cutesy art style with the violence. There’s no blood or gore, but the game definitely doesn’t play the way it looks. Cuphead could easily be the next Super Meat Boy in terms of under the radar critical and commercial success.

16. Abzu


What kind of game is this? 3rd person underwater exploration adventure game.
Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: 2016

The creative director on Abzu was the lead designer on Journey, so it should come as no surprise that Abzu looks completely breathtaking. I’ve always been incredibly afraid of the open ocean; there’s something about not being able to see the ocean floor that gives me goosebumps. But I’m definitely willing to face those fears for the sake of this game. But while Abzu definitely explores the mystery of the ocean depths and mankind’s interaction with underwater creatures, it isn’t pitched as a scary game. Or even really a mechanics heavy one. The game has no head’s up display or dialogue; the story is told through the music and the interactions the player has with the thousands of fish and other sea creatures. I’m not really sure what the narrative is, or who the main character is, or even what the moment to moment gameplay is, but I’m sold on this game based upon the pedigree of the developers and the promise of underwater beauty and exploration.

15. The Last Guardian


What kind of game is this? Narrative driven platforming escort game.
Developer: Team Ico, SCE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4
Release Date: 2016

The Last Guardian was originally announced in 2009 for the PS3. For those bad at math, that was SIX YEARS AGO. That’s a really long time, even by gaming industry standards. But now the game has finally been re-revealed as a PS4 game, and though it’s disappointing that the game isn’t hitting in 2015, we finally got some real gameplay and a confirmation that it’ll be in consumers’ hands sometime next year (assuming they don’t delay it again). But in all seriousness, The Last Guardian seems to hold the same majestic aura that Team Ico’s other games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus held. A part of me is more interested in the behind the scenes story of this game than actually playing it, but it’ll be a huge relief to finally sit down and explore this beautiful world, and to finally learn the secrets of the aptly nicknamed “BirdDog.”

14. Rise of the Tomb Raider


What kind of game is this? story driven, limited open world, 3rd person shooter/puzzle-platformer.
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix, Microsoft
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 (eventually)
Release Date: November 10, 2015

2013’s Tomb Raider reboot was a fantastic surprise of a game. Crystal Dynamics took Lara Croft, lost most of the misogyny, and created a character with depth and vulnerability. But they definitely kept her ability to kick ass. Some of the biggest complaints on the first game were the lack of actual “tomb raiding” and the fantastical nature of the game’s conclusion. It’s too early to tell if the latter complaint will be addressed, but Crystal Dynamics has come out and said that tomb raiding will play a much larger part in the game this time around, which is great to hear. The ice climbing demo shown at E3 was action packed and the snow looked beautiful, so hopefully the story holds up better this time. PS4 owners (like me) will have to wait longer to play the game, but Xbox owners will be enjoying it this fall. Lucky jerks.

13. Ratchet and Clank Remastered


What kind of game is this? re-imagining of the original humorous 3rd person action/platformer.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4
Release Date: Spring 2016

The Ratchet and Clank series is one of my favorites (A Crack in Time was my first platinum trophy), so it should be no surprise that I’m excited to see Insomniac going back to their roots. I know some people have claimed fatigue on the series from games like All4One and Full Frontal Assault, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of those diversions either, last year’s Into the Nexus was a great epilogue to their “Futures” duo of Ratchet games. This project is a little bit different in that it’s not a completely new tale, it’s a retelling of the original Ratchet and Clank game. So it’s basically like how Amazing Spider-Man retold all of the same stuff from the first Spider-Man movie in a slightly different way. Oh man, I hope this game is better than that movie. But what we’ve seen so far looks great, with a Pixar quality visual style and tight combat and platforming. This game should do exceptionally well since it’s tied to the movie release, too.

12. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst


What kind of game is this? 1st person action/platformer
Developer: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: February 23, 2016

A sequel to Mirror’s Edge was something I thought would never happen. The first game was definitely a cult hit, but it didn’t sell particularly well, and critics were kind of mixed. Most, like me, loved the unique concept, but felt the execution wasn’t 100% there. The combat, especially the gunplay, felt like an afterthought, but DICE has promised that combat has been a major focus of this new game. Catalyst isn’t a sequel to the original Mirror’s Edge, but is instead a combination of prequel and re-imagining of the first game. The futuristic, stark white visual style remains, but I’m hoping there’s more of a focus on story, as well. I really enjoyed playing the first game, but I kind of zoned out during the few cutscenes that existed. But, DICE and EA definitely seem to be taking their time with this one, and I’m confident that it will exceed the first both in critical and commercial response.

11. The Division


What kind of game is this? post-apocalyptic, co-op 3rd person shooter with RPG elements.
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: March 8, 2016

Even posthumously, Tom Clancy gets his name put on just about every shooter that Ubisoft puts out. The Division was originally revealed two E3’s ago, and was my game of the show then. I’m not necessarily cooling on the game, but we’ve seen it so many times that I’m just ready to play it. The original pitch of “open world co-op 3rd person shooter RPG” was mind-blowing at the time of its reveal, but since then, Destiny has come out, a game that promised just about the same thing and didn’t deliver on basically any front. It’s a shame, because The Division could very well turn out to be everything it’s promised to be, but I’ve been burned so many times now by over-promising from developers that I’ve become even more of a cynic. So, until I actually get to play The Division next year, I’m sadly tempering my excitement. Though honestly, being able to team up with friends to get loot and then shoot them all in the back to take it for yourself sounds pretty freaking awesome.


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