God of War 4 (PS4) There were rumors leading up to E3 that the next God of War would be set in norse mythology, but no one really expected it to be revealed at E3, or see actual in-game footage. It was a big surprise when Sony opened up its press conference with an extended look at Kratos’s newest adventure. The even bigger surprise however was the game’s focus on a less angry, more compassionate Kratos.
Through six games across multiple Playstation systems, Kratos became more and more difficult to like. His incessant need for revenge, while beautiful rendered, became tired. In an excellent move, the Sony Santa Monica team reinvented one of Playstation’s most well-known characters
The demo concentrated on Kratos as he teaches a young boy (likely a son or grandson), how to hunt and survive in this new cruel world. Kratos used the same tricks to kill monstrous foes, but this time, it wasn’t out of a need for vengeance and brutality. Instead, this Kratos fought out of necessity and to protect his young ward. It’s a 180 degree change that has me interested in this character for the first time since 2005.
Sea of Thieves (Xbox One) Sea of Thieves, an upcoming Xbox exclusive, is being billed as a multiplayer, cooperative pirate simulator where players work together to sail the seas. Microsoft didn’t show much of the game, just a highlight reel of people playing the demo, but what we saw was impressive. Players worked together to sail the ship and engaged in cannon battles with other player-operated ships.
What little was shown of Sea of Thieves was full of charm. The visuals are cartoony and light-hearted, so don’t expect a hyper-realistic pirate game with lots of violence. Developer Rare expects an open-world environment with custom creation tools for user-generated content. If Rare can follow through on these promises and maintain the charm and fun displayed in the trailer, Sea of Thieves will be an excellent Microsoft exclusive.
Gravity Rush 2 (PS4) Gravity Rush 2 was not featured at Sony’s press conference, but the trailer and gameplay from the show floor has me excited. The original, a Playstation Vita title that was remastered for PS4 earlier this year, was dripping with style and created a world both engaging and mysterious. The game’s premise, players having the power to control the pull of gravity , was both novel and original.
Kat, the game’s protagonist, returns with her gravity altering abilities. The gameplay demos showed off improved graphics, but what caught my attention was the level of detail present in the world. Project Siren, the game’s developer, showed off a world brimming with activity. Combat, which was somewhat repetitive in the first game, appears to have varied as well. Gravity Rush 2 was one of the most impressive titles on the floor and worthy of your attention.
Spider-Man (PS4) This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me.
I’m a huge Spider-Man fan, but we can all agree that his video game pedigree isn’t great. The last Spider-Man game I can honestly say I enjoyed immensely was the the web slinger’s debut on the Sony Playstation way back in the year 2000 (that is for you Conan).
In short, it’s been a while.
Then Sony surprised me with the announcement that developer Insomniac (Ratchet and Clank series; Sunset Overdrive) was working on a brand new Spidey game that would be exclusive to the PS4. Then Insomniac tweeted that the footage used at the press conference was actual gameplay running off a current PS4.
Take my money. Take my left ear. Take my kidney. Take them all. Just give me this game.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U) Nintendo’s Zelda gamble paid off and everyone was a buzz about the newest adventure with Link. The game looked gorgeous and was bit of a departure from the series as the game showed a bit of a sci-fi element to the story. Nintendo needs this game to be huge, and the gameplay footage that was shown gives me no indication that it will be nothing but a success and could move a lot of NX consoles when it’s released next March. And that is the best Nintendo could have hoped for when they decided to take the risk and give this game the E3 spotlight.
It would have been nice to hear something about the NX at E3, but Nintendo still built some anticipation for it’s newest console because of how good this game came across during the Wii U demo. This gives fans a good time frame to dream about how great this game will look on a more graphically capable piece of hardware.
Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4) Red Dead Redemption with a dash of cyber punk and a pinch of Jurassic Park.
What is there not to love about this game?
Sony brought quite a bit of gameplay for Horizon this year and it didn’t disappoint. The world around this game looked beautiful and the combat was fluid and fun. We didn’t get much in the way of RPG elements, but the weapons at your disposal, from your trusty bow to explosive traps, made me wish this game was out now instead of early next year. The hacking of creatures is a neat concept and with the slow down “bullet time” effect added, I may actually be able to effectively hit something with a bow and arrow in a game for the first time ever.
Horizon is a big concept to try and bring to life, but Guerrilla Games seem to be on the right track. Let’s hope they stay on it and deliver a Game of the Year candidate for 2017.