The major conferences for E3 have come and gone, and the next couple of days of the major video gaming event will be more of the hands-on events. From game demos to testing out the new video game accessories on the showroom floor, this year’s E3 event had some jaw dropping moments and some massive disappointments. In my opinion, the majority of the E3 announcements this year were underwhelming.
I’ve had a few days to review what I’ve seen from all the conferences and have come up with a Top 10 of games and accessories that made the biggest impression on me. Again, this isn’t assessing “Who Won E3” (but if you ask me, it was clearly Microsoft) but this is what I thought stood out the most from the conferences from Monday and Tuesday.
10. Mass Effect: Andromeda
The Mass Effect trilogy is widely considered to be the Star Wars of the 21st Century. From its rich and epic storytelling, to exciting action sequences and iconic music score, Mass Effect put you in charge of Commander Shepard and you molded him/her to be the Galaxy’s biggest hero or its biggest threat. Andromeda, or Mass Effect 4 as it was known at E3 2014, takes place years after the events of Mass Effect 3 in an entirely different part of the Galaxy. Like its predecessors, you’ll be able to recruit crew members to your team, make crucial decisions that will affect the fate of the galaxy, and (most important of all) space exploration. There’s been speculation as to what kinds of exploration will be available, but it’s widely believed that the space exploration will be that of the first Mass Effect game.
This year’s teaser gives us a target date for the new game (Holiday 2016), as well as a mysterious individual in N7 armor that BioWare has confirmed is not the new main playable character. Who is this mysterious N7 soldier? A relative of Shepard? Shepard himself/herself? Is he/she your new potential crew member?
Even more exciting is that BioWare has made it clear they want the final product to look as good as the graphics looked in the teaser trailer. There’s plenty to be excited for as Mass Effect takes the leap to next generation consoles.
9. Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire
I absolutely loved the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series. Before the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, we had the chance to become a Jedi and make decisions that decided the fate of the galaxy. For the longest time, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 was in development before it was eventually cancelled. In it’s place, BioWare developed Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is an MMORPG. I’m not a big fan of MMORPGs but the trailer for Knights of the Fallen Empire has actually made me want to buy the game, specifically for this campaign add-on.
The new expansion pack will be free for subscribers of The Old Republic and was described at the EA Conference as “back to the routes of BioWare style storytelling.” The game will let you jump into a Level 60 character known as the Outlander, a veteran of the Great Galactic War who comes face-to-face with a new threat to the galaxy known as the Emperor of the Eternal Throne.
Knights of the Fallen Empire looks to be the Knights of the Old Republic III game I’ve always wanted to play. The only thing that’d make this game even better would be if BioWare released it for PS4 and Xbox One.
8. Gears of War 4
At last: a true sequel to Gears of War 3. Each Gears game (with the exception of Gears of War: Judgement) improved on its predecessor in terms of game mechanics and story. We don’t know much about Gears of War 4, but from the looks of this trailer, it’s appealing to the eye. The main character and his female companion may not be Marcus Fenix or Dom Santiago, but the characters appear to have chemistry with each other and that’ll surely enhance the gaming experience.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a brand new Doom game. In fact, we’re talking about the PS2/Original Xbox era when Doom 3 was released, so this game has been a long time coming.
And I can already guarantee this will be better than Doom 3.
The most tedious thing about Doom 3 was the fact you had to use a flashlight to navigate mostly dark environments. This put you at a serious disadvantage as you had to hold a flashlight in place of your weapon and if an enemy jumped out of the darkness, you had to swap to a weapon, losing your light and having to fire in the darkness. When the expansion pack, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil was released, they provided you a pistol with a flashlight, but that was the only gun that had a flashlight. When Doom was remastered for the Xbox 360, they permanently allowed flashlights to be on all weapons.
Now with this new Doom game, it looks like the horror element has been tossed out and is going back to the roots of shooting up demons and trying to survive. The emphasis on combat reminds me of what Bethesda did with Wolfenstein: The New Order by taking the franchise back to its roots and making an awesome story to go along with brutal kills the franchise was known for. If Bethesda could rejuvenate the Wolfenstein franchise, then it’s highly likely that Doom will get the same treatment.
6. Xbox’s Backwards Compatibility
This is something many fans have requesting for when it comes to the PS4 and the Xbox One. If the previous consoles were backwards compatible, why couldn’t the “next gen” consoles have the same feature? It turns out Microsoft listened to its fans, stunning the gaming world with news that they were giving Xbox users the chance to play classic Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. Unlike with the 360, which disabled party chats and friend notifications when playing an original Xbox game, the One will still allow other features like the party chat to work when playing 360 games.
At the moment, only 12 games will work with backwards compatibility, but it’s expected to expand to 100 by the end of the year. If you miss playing Halo: Reach with your friends, now you’ll get the chance on the Xbox One rather than firing up your Xbox 360.
5. Halo 5: Guardians
After the SNAFU known as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 343 Industries has made it their intent to make it up to their fans by building Halo 5: Guardians completely from the ground up. If you got a chance to play the beta, you’ll notice that the combat in the game has changed significantly from the previous installments, offering a fresh take on the series.
Everything about this looks awesome, from the revamped multiplayer mode to the completely new campaign experience that allows you to have 3 allies with you at all times (and indicates who you’re gonna play as in 4-player campaign co-op). This could be the darkest game of the Halo franchise. Halo 4 looked incredible, especially for a game engine that maxed out the capabilities of what the Xbox 360 could do. Now that it has the freedom to do more on the Xbox One, this could be the best selling game for Microsoft’s console.
Plus, it always an instant win if you have Nathan Fillion as a main character.
4. Destiny: The Taken King
Despite being a financial success, Destiny was a massive disappointment when it was released. The campaign itself was vanilla and lacked much of a story that got you to really feel excited about what you were doing. It wasn’t until the DLC expansions The Dark Below and The House of Wolves that people started gaining interest in Destiny again, and I’ll have to admit that the second DLC was what got me back into playing Destiny after not playing it for many months. The House of Wolves DLC was the most fun I’ve had playing Destiny, and now I’m really excited for the new expansion..
The trailer alone suggests that The Taken King will biggest expansion experience to date. While it’s a costly $40 for the expansion, it’ll add hours of new content, weapons, abilities, and strikes that’ll have you reunite with your friends and enjoy the multiplayer experience.
3. Batman: Arkham Knight
Rocksteady has made an emphasis to say this is the final game in the Batman: Arkham series. If this is truly the final game of the series, it’s going to go out with one epic bang. Arkham City’s vast open world made that game an incredible experience. Arkham Knight looks to blow City’s doors off with a fully interactive city, not to mention the capability of actually driving the Batmobile around Gotham City.
It’s going to be dark, epic, and it’s set for one heck of a finale to finish the series. Add in some first person perspective and new gadgets, and we’re looking at potentially the best comic book based video game of all time.
2. Star Wars: Battlefront
If you’re on the fence about this game, this gameplay trailer from the EA Conference is sure to change your mind and make you go out and put a reserve on a copy when this comes out in November.
There have been rumblings on the Internet about no space combat in the upcoming Battlefront game, but let’s remember: the original Battlefront game for Xbox and PS2 didn’t have Space Combat, and only a few maps had access to space ships. But if you look at the trailer, you can clearly see there will be flying dogfights in addition to shooting down the Imperials or the Rebellion.
Seriously, just watch the trailer. In addition to playing in third person perspective, you can also play from first person POV, which truly puts you on the battlefield of some of the most iconic battles in the original Star Wars trilogy. The environments aren’t just a limited sandbox, and you can access vehicles to take down your foes. Another nice touch is that the rebellion side allows you to play as other alien races, not just as human.
This game was the big draw for EA’s conference, and with good reason. Plus, there’s a battle in this game that’ll explain a certain planet to be featured in Star Wars Episode VII. If this gameplay video doesn’t get you excited, you need your head examined.
1. Microsoft’s HoloLens
The top thing to come out of this year’s E3 is a piece of technology that hasn’t been released yet. The HoloLens was the most talked about demonstrations and made social media light up when the Minecraft segment (see above) was featured. There’s still much more time to advance this technology before it hits the market, but the fact you can take a holographic image from a wall and place it on a table top surface that allows you to zoom in, move the map and view an entire world? That’s very cool, and most noteworthy in my book. If you haven’t seen the demonstration yet, take a look. I’m sure it’ll blow your mind away. It blew mine, and that’s why I rank it my #1 this year.
Are there other games you’re looking forward to more than what I listed? List your top ten from E3 and start the discussion in the comment section below.