Another E3 has come and gone, and now it's time to reflect back on what was shown. This particular E3 will probably go down in history for one big reason â€” actually, make that THREE big reasons.
In a highly strategic move, Sony played their trump cards one after the another during their E3 press conference, announcing some of the most highly anticipated games ever. The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Shenmue III are titles that many gamers thought they'd never see at this point, so to turn legends into reality really turned the event into a momentous one.
Of course, it wasn't only a fantastic show because of that. Many other brand new games were shown off as well, and though there are a number of big sequels in the works (this year seems to be the year of the four-quel), creativity seemed to be abundant this year in comparison to previous years.
With that, here are the ones that impressed the GP staff the most this around.
Star Wars Battlefront
I've always thought DICE was a great fit for the Battlefront series given their pedigree working on FPS games, but I'd be lying if I told you I was excited for the new Battlefront revamp before E3. While it was great to see the series return after more than a decade, what could they add to improve on it? Better graphics? Not to mention they announced that there would be no space battles about a month back.
And then they proceed to showed the first gameplay footage, and... that was all I needed to become a believer again. The Battle of Hoth was the perfect demo and really made you feel as if you were in the moment, being a part of something much bigger. The sound of zooming Speeders, Tie-Fighters, and X-Wings; of AT-ATs moving their giant steel legs, and blaster fire â€” this is what Star Wars is all about, and DICE captured it in all its glory.
Super Mario Maker
Like Star Wars Battlefront, this was also a game I was not really into until recently. I thought Super Mario Maker was a novel concept when it was announced last year, but creating levels didn't really excite me that much. And playing levels that other people created? If they weren't made by Nintendo, how good could they be?
That answer came on the final night of The Nintendo World Championships 2015. The game that would decide the winner was none other than Super Mario Maker, and it was only at this point that I realized just how crazy the level design could be. What was even more impressive is that the levels shown were created by NOA's Treehouse division. If they could go wild like that, what might the rest of fans in general create? I can't wait to find out.
This is a game from FreakyCreations that I spoke highly of last year when I played it on the PlayStation Vita. The premise of the game is simple enough: Guide the door you're carrying to the end of a level without touching anything. When I played it on PS4 this year, I just wanted to assess the visual differences, and how different it felt playing the game with a controller instead of on a handheld.
I was hooked again after just a few minutes, and could have sat there all day and played that game! The objective is simple, but execution requires mastery of patience and platforming skill. It's honestly one of my most anticipated games of next year. Truly a hidden gem.
The audience reaction to the EarthBound Beginnings reveal at the Nintendo World Championships was on par with Sony's "Holy Trinity" announcements of The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue 3.
It may not have aged gracefully, and at its core... it's just another 8-bit RPG that's super punishing like Dragon Warrior. But what it means for EarthBound fans is... hope. Getting MOTHER 3 is no longer a pipe dream, because we've gotten the first game after twenty years. I suspect we'll hear about the third game in a matter of time, if not during E3 next year.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
The Final Fantasy VII Remake is probably what surprised people the most this E3, including me. I was pretty much gawking at the screen with my mouth open as I screeched, "OH MY GOD," when they revealed it. I was even shaking for a long time afterward! This long awaited remake is definitely going to be an interesting and exciting title to keep tabs on considering the design choices and changes Square Enix might make. Let's just hope it doesn't end up like Final Fantasy Versus XIII/Final Fantasy XV where we don't hear anything about it for an eternity.
I believe Cuphead was shown briefly during last year's E3, and it was then that I fell in love with the game's art style. We got to see more of it at this year's E3, and I even got the opportunity to test it out on the showfloor! Actually getting to play Cuphead and seeing it in motion had me begging for more. The animation is just so stunningly beautiful. And co-op is a blast, too. Man, I can't wait to finally play the finished version whenever it releases next year.
It is a shock in itself that Square-Enix keeps giving Yoko Taro money to make games when they are anything but commercial successes. But, even more mind-blowing is that NieR not only gets a sequel, but one handled by Platinum Games, AKA the best developer of character-action games for the past two console generations.
This concept has me even more excited after hearing that the excellent NieR composer, Keiichi Okabe, is returning for the soundtrack (almost arguably the original NieRâ€™s greatest strength next to its bizarre, but surprisingly poignant, storytelling.) and Akihiko Yoshida on the art, known for his work in Final Fantasy XII/Tactics and Vagrant Story. Either way, this sounds like a peanut butter and jelly combination that I had no idea that I wanted and now that I do know about itâ€¦ I want it pretty badly.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
To be honest, Iâ€™m not really sure why Iâ€™m looking forward to the game as much as I am. Ground Zeroes was laughably sparse on content and did not leave a particularly good impression on me by the time I was done. However, the more I see and hear of The Phantom Pain, the more clearly Ground Zeroes looks to be a stepping stone for a far greater game, and possibly a fitting send-off as Kojimaâ€™s last Metal Gear Solid title.
Orâ€¦ maybe the real reason Iâ€™m looking forward to it so much is because you capture tanks with floating parachutes, raise puppies for your personal army, beat up soldiers to add music to your cassette tape, and light a cigarette with a sniper rifle. But who knows, maybe Kojima just hoodwinked me with those exciting E3 trailers/demos and Iâ€™ll be stuck playing Raiden again by the time I get the final product.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Sony's capstone game may have been overshadowed by a series of bombshell announcements, but Naughty Dog once again paraded their uncanny ability to blend action sequences, storytelling and eye-popping visuals into quite the experience. The first gameplay demo of Uncharted 4 featured 30 seconds of Nathan Drake standing still, but a wild ride ensued once they addressed the control issue. This E3's extended demo delved a bit deeper into the game, but the consensus from attendees is that Naughty Dog is once again pushing the current generation of consoles to new heights. My shortlist for most anticipated games in 2016 contains two games. This is one of them.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Most people were 'oohing' and 'ahhing' at the Final Fantasy VII Remake or the re-reveal of The Last Guardian, but for me Guerrilla Games stole the show with their brand new IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. I'm sure most people are well aware of Guerrilla's last IP, Killzone, especially because it spanned 3 console generations and 2 handheld generations. But this â€” this is definitely something new.
The environments look lush and vibrant. The monster design (basically dinobots) is striking. Even the premise is something that stands out among games releasing anytime soon. Plus the fact you can sum up the game by saying, "It's like if Nariko was in Monster Hunter fighting dinobots from Transformers," is pretty amazing.
Fire up your old Inkspots vinyl, the vault dwellers are back in town! While most people were probably more excited about Shenmue III, the sequel I was pumping my fist in the air for was Fallout 4. Sure, it was revealed a couple days before, but that did nothing to decrease my hype for it as the show rolled on. Being the lone survivor of Vault 111, and journeying into the Boston wasteland is top of my to-do list this year. With the obscene amount of time I put into Fallout 3, there's pretty much no way I wouldn't be as excited as a super mutant in a gattling gun factory. And dogmeat!
And there you have it! If next year's E3 is even half as good as this year's, it's going to be another good show for sure.
What were the games that you came away most impressed with from E3 2015? Let us know in the comments below!