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E3 2016 Staff Picks: Shacknews' Top 3 Games of The Show

Ranging from VR sports to bombastic open world shooters, the games of E3 2016 were an eclectic mix. Even for a technically "slower" year, it was an impressively diverse and unique array of games fit to appeal to gamers of all ages and tastes. 

Because we like to shine a ligt on good things and bring some positivity to the internet every once in a while, several of the Shacknews staffers have come together and shared our personal top three favorite games of the show. And yeah, Zelda is on there. A lot. 

For a more comprehensive list of kour thoughts from E3, check out our official preview round-up!

Cassidee Moser

Strafe 

Devolver Digital was easily my favorite appointment of E3. They're a solid publisher with a knack for finding unique and earnest games, and the most prominently featured at their booth did not disappoint. 

Among the likes of Shadow Warrior 2, Absolver, and even Serious Sam VR, my favorite game of the day was Strafe, a roguelike shooter with evocative art and mechanics calling back to the classic PC games Doom and Quake. Strafe is fast-paced, challenging, and dynamic, using small elements like gore and enemy behavior as ways for the player to bend the world toward their own advantage. It's frenetic, it's crazy, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. 

Yooka-Laylee

With the pedigree behind it, I can't imagine anyone had any doubts about Yooka-Laylee being any good. But I was surprised at exactly how good it is. The 3D platformer has been a genre lying dormant for the past few years, quietly ushered out as the industry made room for realistic military shooters and sequels. Yooka-Laylee is a return to form, a gloriously fun, bright, and brilliant re-invention of the modern open-world platformer. 

We Happy Few

I love a good dystopia, and We Happy Few serves up more than enough to satisfy. It's chilling and unsettling, filled with blank stares, masked faces, and macabre insanity. I'm slightly nervous about how it might go about commenting on mental health and the use of medication for treatment, but I remain mostly optimistic about it and look forward to playing it upon release.

David Craddock

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I'll be honest with you: as a self-professed Zelda fanboy, the direction of the series post-Twilight Princess had me worried. Ocarina of Time sent shockwaves through the industry back in 1998, but Nintendo stuck to the formula for too long. Zelda used to be a name synonymous with innovation and freedom. In contrast, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were safe, paint-by-numbers entries. Not bad. Not great. Just sort of... there.

Breath of the Wild has me ready to party like it's 1998 all over again. A massive open world, combined with the freedom to choose my own path and Nintendo's flair for fine details, all but guarantee that this Zelda will deliver everything I want and more.

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 6 wasn't just stale. It reeked. RE6 was a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas that resulted in a game with an identity crisis. Was it a Call of Duty clone? An (action) survival horror title? An elaborate series of quicktime events? Jack of all trades, master of none.

Resident Evil 7 is the most dramatic reinvention of series conventions since 2005's Resident Evil 4. So much so that no fan favorites like Chris, Jill, Claire, or Leon will be playable. They might not even be present. No, RE7 is going back to basics: new faces, new horrors lurking in the darkness, all rooted in a single setting a la Resident Evil's Spencer Estate.

I am so there, and I'll be there in PlayStation VR.

God of War

God of War's mechanics were fun, but its story and characters never clicked with me. After one full game of Kratos bellowing at everything that drew breath (and plenty of things that didn't), I was tapped out. And they made five more across multiple systems!

Which is precisely why the stark contrast in tone and pacing evident in the God of War reboot grabbed me during Sony's press conference. For many developers, reinventing a character amounts to giving them a new weapon and set of special abilities. Sony has done more than take Kratos back to the drawing board. It's made him reflective, a merciless killer whose son has made him evaluate his past deeds and come to a sobering conclusion.

Color me intrigued. God of War: Feeling Feelings will no doubt have lots of action, but if Sony can keep Kratos and his introspection front and center, I'll go along for the ride.

Josh Hawkins

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

Weapon decay, cooking, a complete revamped idea of what the Legend of Zelda can be, not to mention it looks absolutely beautiful. Goodbye life.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew  

The sheer ability to completely immerse myself in a virtual reality environment that brings one of my favorite science fiction worlds to life in a way that we've never seen before. My only problem is... I have to find a way to get my own HMD now.

Oculus' Virtual Reality Lineup  

I put the whole lineup here because I'm really excited about everything I got to try out at E3. VR Sports is amazing, The Unspoken is great, and Ripcoil basically puts me into a first person virtual version of one of my favorite party games of all times. Count me in.

Steve Watts

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Some might say to me, "Steve, future-cavewoman-Lara-Croft isn't very original." And I would reply: be quiet, I'm hunting a mecha-deer so I can ride it into battle against a robotic hermit crab with a shell full of loot.

Tacoma
The team behind Gone Home is back with another game that's just as eerie and creepy as the first--but this time with a distinct focus on interpersonal relationships between several characters. It looks great, and bonus interview points for taking the "not-a-game" critique with more good humor than I would.

Manifold Garden
This gravity-bending puzzler seems neat but normal when you're indoors, but before long you exit the safety of walled areas and find yourself outside. Switching gravity here has you fall through an endless loop of the same environment, and puzzles revolve around positioning yourself to fall into the right spot in M.C. Escher settings. It very well may decimate my brain.

Daniel Perez

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 2 left such a huge impression on me when it released two years ago, that I can’t help but be extremely excited to see how the next game will continue to expand the series. While I couldn’t care less about the party atmosphere the Horizon festival personifies, I’m more than ready to take my ride through the Outback to experience a virtually-endless playground to drive around in.

Gears of War 4

I pride myself in being a full-fledged Gears of War fan. I’ve played all the games, read all the books, and I’m even the proud owner of a Retro Lancer. Gears of War 4 continues to surprise me each time Microsoft has something to reveal. Seeing an old Marcus Fenix in the game’s most recent preview has pumped me up for the game, and now that it’ll support Xbox Play Anywhere and multi-platform cross play, I can now enjoy the latest Gears of War game from the comfort of either my Xbox One or PC.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park: The Stick of Truth offered some hilarious moments, and I can’t wait to see what Matt and Trey come up with for its follow-up. Just like most players, I was disappointed in how easy its combat system was, but judging by its latest E3 trailer, it appears Ubisoft is looking to offer a bit more depth by making the game a strategy-RPG. If Ubisoft is able to make its combat system both fun and rewarding, then we’ll certainly have a contender for Game of the Year.

Brittany Vincent 

Death Stranding

I've been waiting ever since I heard about Silent Hills' cancellation for another game that might scratch my Hideo Kojima itch, and this surrealistic trailer was everything I had been hoping for. The first official project with a trailer attached to it delivered those signature Kojima theatrics I haven't seen since Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain made its debut. I can't make heads or tails of what's happening in the trailer, but I hope it gets even stranger and makes everyone even more uncomfortable.

Resident Evil 7

I mourned when Silent Hills was canceled as I mentioned above, and I still have P.T. on my PS4 as a monument to one of the only games in the world to have legitimately terrified me to the point that I had to sleep with the lights on. I got the same vibe from what looks like it could be a reboot of the entire seminal series, and I'm thrilled to see it for myself when the actual game drops. The demo's only a small morsel of what looks to be a smorgasbord of terror.

God of War

I'm interested to see a kinder, gentler Kratos who takes on a fatherly role, whether the boy in the E3 trailer is his son by blood or not. I think it's a much more difficult path to tread than making Kratos a heartless killing machine on a mission, and it will absolutely lead more players to care about his plights, especially as he passes on his knowledge to the boy we met during E3, and the boy passes on his learnings in turn.

Asif Khan

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The short demo that I played has restored some of my faith in the Big N. 2016 will be a year to forget for Nintendo, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be in the GOTY 2017 discussion.

Ripcoil  

An amazing new online VR game by Sanzaru Games that pits two players against each other in a Pong meets Tron world with frisbees as the weapon of choice. It is going to be an awesome game for Oculus Rift with a ton of replay value.

Wilson's Heart

They use the Oculus Touch controllers to achieve the best hand presence I have experienced in VR. Twisted Pixel has developed a very artistic and dark experience for virtual reality that will cause the hair on your arm to stand. Just watch out for the homicidal teddy bear!

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