E3 has morphed into an entirely different animal from what it was during its formative years. What used to be a gathering of publishers, retailers, and press has now become a public event that many of the biggest participants eschew in favor of independent press briefings. While you can’t play everything at E3 without being there in person, you can get a very strong feeling for the lay of the land simply by watching the publicly broadcasted shows and interviews. Unlike your average Youtube viewer, I do have close personal relationships with the Shacknews staffers who made the trek to Los Angeles, so I can ask them for firsthand accounts of important things like, “What does Kojima smell like?” I’ll be using my insider information and Youtube trailers to construct a personal “Best of Show” list of the things at E3 that had my worm wiggling.
Xbox Adaptive Controller
While this new controller was officially revealed ahead of E3, the public and press were able to go hands-on with the device in Los Angeles. There has already been loads of discussion about how important this project is for gamers who struggle with using the standard input devices for consoles and PC, but I’ll add in my two cents. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will go down as the most important peripheral since the debut of the Wiimote. This controller will immeasurably improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide (perhaps even more). The modular nature of its inputs will also lead to tons of interesting applications unrelated to players with limited dexterity or disabilities. I fully expect the Xbox Adaptive controller to be at the heart of some incredibly cool projects that haven’t yet been dreamed up.
Dying Light 2
While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Dying Light, I enjoyed how polished its first-person parkour mechanics felt and its refreshing take on the zombie genre. It wasn’t until I got to play developer Techland’s expansion, The Following, that the game really clicked for me. After a couple of years in the oven, the studio’s next big adventure, Dying Light 2, debuted during Microsoft’s E3 press briefing. Rather than kick out more of the same gameplay into a bigger or different environment, the team at Techland appears to be evolving the series into a more narrative-focused experience where choices drastically impact the game world. While zombies were the biggest threat in the original game, desperate people seem to be even more dangerous this time around. I can’t wait to see what the Polish developer has up its sleeve.
While a side-scrolling pixel art roguelike is possibly the least innovative game idea you could possibly dream up in 2018 and we saw pixel destruction in 2015’s Broforce, Noita appears to be making the most of its hooks by tying them directly into the gameplay. Physics-based gameplay can be incredibly rewarding when done right and Noita promises players the chance to use its systems to tackle obstacles in dynamic ways. There are moments in the game’s E3 trailer that look 100% bonkers and I can’t wait to see it in person.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 3 was unquestionably my 2016 Game of the Year. It was the arcade racing game that scratched the itch started by many of the classics of the 90s like Outrun, Crusin’ USA, and The Need for Speed. Playground Games is back with the newest iteration and is moving the action from the lush Australian coast to the United Kingdom. Seasons are the biggest change for the series and promise to shake up road conditions throughout the open world. I’d also guess that the move out of Australia means that all the Holden sports cars will likely become Aston Martins or Jaguars. The reveal trailer also showed challenging turns, something that the wide open map from Horizon 3 offered little of.
If you told me prior to E3 that I would be excited to play Rage 2, I wouldn’t have believed you. Thanks to a wonderful stage performance by Andrew W.K. and the reveal that Avalanche Studios would be using their Apex engine to bring the wasteland to life, I became intrigued. After seeing the gameplay trailer, I got some serious Bulletstorm vibes. This is a good thing. If Avalanche can nail the gunplay here and successfully marry it to the vehicular combat that they nearly perfected in Mad Max, we could have a dark horse Game of the Year candidate on our hands.
Did you see the tail lights on that car?!?!?!?!?
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Chris's Best of E3 2018: The Cream of the Crop
in the white room with shack curtains near Nintendo
Black lootboxes, all gold payments, tired streamers
Silver horses ran down amibos in your dark eyes
I'll wait in this place where the hands never wash
Wait in this place where the influencers run from themselves
You said now way that game runs on a Playstation
Platform 'sclusives, are on Xbox and on Windows
Give me your best cream, Christopher
straight from the crop