This E3 was a blast. Any weak points aside, you’d be hard pressed to remember a time where it felt like just about everyone was satisfied by what we were treated to across 3 long days in Los Angeles.
So many surprises, and so many standouts. Sure we saw the likes of Halo and Uncharted, which expectedly blew us away with their gorgeous features and on stage demos, but what got us the most excited was the games we knew next to nothing about going in.
We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 picks of E3 2015. These games may have been announced previously, but what we learned about them at E3 had us bouncing excitedly in our seats. Once all the air clears around our Uncharteds and Halos, these are the games that we will all be talking about.
Admittedly, Abzu comes off as a bit shallow at first – an exploration focused game where you play as a diver who has lost all trace of who she was or why she is here. But as you learn a little more about the game, it grows on you. A mysterious shark that follows you around. Design by Journey art designer Matt Nava. Gorgeous environments to just take in. Abzu looks like a game that could be the next Journey if it manages to hit all of those right notes. It has me preparing my feelings for a rollercoaster ride.
A true standout in the three hour long PC conference, this SOMA trailer was absolutely horrifying. Despite its vagueness, it doesn’t take much contemplation to figure out what Frictional Games is working with here. SOMA takes the amnesia formula and takes it underwater in a destroyed deep sea facility. Mix Amnesia with BioShock and you’ve got the idea.
SOMA‘s short trailer gave us the chills with the sudden aggression of the (floating?) light source overtakes the player. It’s exciting to see a fresh new take on the Amnesia formula by the guys that made it work the first time. And it’s nice to see SOMA come out of hiding once again.
8) Kingdom Hearts 3
Despite it’s “Still In Development” status, Kingdom Hearts 3 looks stunning. Bright colors are everywhere as Sora and crew adventure through new Hercules and Tangled themed worlds, and participate in larger than life battles.
Compared to other trailers, the Kingdom Hearts 3 showing feels a little lacking, but it still shows off what makes Kingdom Hearts such a beloved series. A magical world thrown together with engaging combat and over the top abilities.
I mean who doesn’t want to obliterate foes in a tea cup?
7) Nier Project
Nier was one of Square Enix’s most underappreciated JRPGs of the last generation. It featured a bizarre story, even more bizarre characters, but kept it interesting with creative combat and encounters. Announced to the cheers of few at the Square Enix convention, the Nier sequel is in development.
The exciting parts of this sequel includes the development being helmed by Platinum games, with tons of help from designers of games like the original Nier and Drakengard. This means we can expect a much more refined and cool combat system, with more over the top encounters. And once again with another badass (and clearly Drakengard inspired) female lead. The Nier sequel is sure to be at least another cult classic.
The best part about the surge of video game old guard seeping out into the plasma of the development world means we get projects like ReCore. The brainchild of legendary Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune and Metroid Prime developer Armature Studios, ReCore sounds absolutely excellent on paper. Mix in the gorgeous stylistic graphics, and that signature Inafune touch with the central theme being robots, and you have Xbox’s most appealing new IP bar none.
Just please come to PC. I’m begging you.
5) Enter the Gungeon
While SOMA was the biggest surprise of the PC conference, Enter the Gungeon has me the most giddy. In fact, it really has me more giddy than any other game on this list. As a rogue-lite addict, Enter the Gungeon combines elements of games that I just can’t get enough of. Turning The Binding of Isaac on its head and throwing in Nuclear Throne‘s over the top bullet hell combat gives you something so beautiful it doesn’t have any right to exist.
In the middle of the sounds of enormous football players crashing into one another and the pipping of Danger Zone through the conference speakers came a moment of silent intrigue as a quiet little man took the stage with his adorable friend made of yarn. If we were naming an MVP of E3 2015, it’d be Yarnie without a doubt, as only a few minutes on screen with his shy creator, everyone was in love.
EA is taking notes from the UbiArt school of fan pleasing by taking this small Swedish developer under their wing to slap their logo on a captivating title that left everyone charmed. Parts Limbo and Yoshi’s Wooly World, Unravel sees Yarnie travelling through the real world using the yarn that makes up his body as a tool to solve puzzles. By the sounds of it, Unravel will be the most emotional experience of whatever year it comes out. I already have my tissue boxes at the ready.
You can’t talk to anyone about their favorite games of E3 without at least hearing “what about that Cuphead game?” A small Canadian team has started a huge undertaking: designing a game with an art style modeled after super old school cartoons. Frankly, they are nailing every aspect of it. The result is, in my honest opinion, one of the best looking games ever created.
Underneath that style is an on foot shoot-em-up that melds in perfectly with the game thematically. A boss battle themed game (yet another instant turn on for me), Cuphead promises grueling difficulty. Luckily, the visuals will keep me entranced long enough to come back and master each of the game’s challenges.
Definite pick for the best trailer at E3 this year.
2) Fallout 4
Despite being more obvious than Nintendo’s use of overdone internet memes was the full reveal of Fallout 4 at Bethesda’s conference. The inevitability of the game’s epicness made us question whether or not it was worth even adding to this list. The new suite of features added to the game, however, made it irresistible.
Building settlements to fill with people, a much more substantial graphical improvement than originally considered, and actual player voice acting make the game even more of a must-have. Gone are the days of awkward character animations and in come an even more fully realized world. It looks like a have a hard date by which I need to be all the way done with The Witcher 3.
1) Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon hung on my mind for days after the conferences. Beyond the great impression it left on the audience at Sony’s presser, Horizon seems like the perfect game for me. A huge departure from Guerrilla Game’s hit or miss Killzone series, Horizon was hinted at for a long time before it’s debut, and so far it’s hitting the right note for just about everyone.
The trailer showed off just how deep the combat system of this fully open world action RPG will be. Hunting dinosaur like machines and monsters looks incredibly fun. The story looks genuinely interesting. The world looks fantastic to explore. Horizon overtook a lot of games on our radar, and stands as our favorite game of the show.
This year’s E3 conference had something for everyone. Narrowing our list to just ten was a challenge, and a lot of great games didn’t make it, but looking over our picks fills us with tons of excitement for the future of this industry.
What were your favorites from this year? Leave a comment below with your top games of E3!