E3 is over for another year, and this one showcased a bunch of new footage from all sorts of games due out this Fall and in 2015. After watching as many as I could, I’ve come up with a list of my favourites from the show in a two-part list.
Some of the most exciting games talked about there like “Star Wars Battlefront,” “Mass Effect 4” and “Grim Fandango Remastered” didn’t really feature enough footage to qualify for a listing. A pity as they’d all be right near the top.
Some of the biggest Fall 2014/Spring 2015 AAA titles such as “The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt,” “The Order: 1886,” “Destiny,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” and “The Crew” already feel ‘trailered out’ or have had far better previews released before their E3 showings this year. Thus they didn’t make the cut.
So, without further ado, here’s the first of this two-part look at the trailers that made me the happiest this year:
1. Rise of the Tomb Raider – Teaser
Everything a sequel teaser should be – giving us a brief glimpse, showing that the actions of the first will have real consequences in the second, and not giving away any spoilers whatsoever. Then there’s the fact we’re seeing a video game character in therapy which actually feels like a big step for gaming as a whole. Combine that with the simple yet effective music, the whole trailer serves as an almost inspiring short film for the self-actualisation of Lara Croft.
2. Assassin’s Creed: Unity – Cinematic Trailer
The best cinematic trailer to a ‘Creed’ game yet, even better than the stunning Venice party-set “Assassin’s Creed II” one. It boasts simply wonderful animation, the excellent French Revolution setting to show it off in, and the excellent choice of Lorde’s grunge cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. Better still is that it’s cut together so well that if this were a movie I’d want to see it right away. The various gameplay trailers at the show were equally as impressive, showing a ton of NPCs and smoother than usual gameplay for the series.
3. No Man’s Sky – Gameplay
No game at the show really has more potential than this one, and this gameplay trailer shows that off so well. Inspired by the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Assimov, Heinlen, Bradbury, P.K. Dick, and so forth – this self-generating and frankly limitless open universe game created by four British guys has such incredible potential and looks like an absolute blast to play and explore.
4. Batman: Arkham Knight – Gameplay
After several amazing cinematic trailers, we finally get a gameplay trailer and guess what – it’s even better. Concerns about how the Batmobile would work have been swept away, the preview showing it to be as omnipresent and handy as Batman’s gadgets along with being capable of turning into an omnidirectional tank. The new and much bigger Gotham city looks gorgeous to roam around in, frankly I don’t think I’ve ever seen actual gameplay look this great before. Just wow.
5. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Teaser
The “Uncharted” series was always one of the best games graphic wise for the previous console generation and the same looks to apply here with the incredible detail level and facial animation. Not only does the teaser give us a title and date reveal, but it poses more questions than it answers. Is this the last? Where is Drake exactly – off East Africa as previously suggested or somewhere else, maybe even the original ‘Drake’s Fortune’ island? Naughty Dog loves to leave us begging for more because they do it so well.
6. Mirror’s Edge 2 – Gameplay
There’s a few talking heads in the clip which makes it less fun than last year’s cinematic big reveal trailer, but there’s also quite a bit of gameplay footage. DICE has thankfully kept the formula and style that worked so beautifully in the criminally underrated first game and tweaked the few elements that needed improving – namely the combat and some of the design. The beautiful monochrome setting with bright primary colored highlights is still in place but it all looks richer and more varied. Can’t wait to dive back into this world.
7. Far Cry 4 – Cinematic Sequence
It is said this is essentially the opening few minutes of the game, but what an opening. One can see the Joker influence in the simply crazy villain Pagan Min who is captivating on screen. The setting looks fantastic, and the quality all over is just gorgeous. A separate gameplay trailer shown at E3 is equally good, showcasing the game playing a bit more like “Tomb Raider” than expected, though still in Far Cry’s signature first-person mode.
8. The Legend of Zelda Wii U – Glimpse
It’s short, a less than one-minute long cinematic showcasing the look of the game. Yet what a look, the freshened up world of Hyrule is gorgeous and the animation is stunning. Fans should be excited, it feels like for the first time in a while we may be seeing some real variation in Link’s latest quest – hopefully things like customisable costumes, and potentially beefed up action mechanics will be incorporated.
9. Rainbow Siege Six – Co-Op Gameplay
A truly excellent way to introduce a game many have been waiting years for. Skipping cinematic teasers altogether, Ubisoft showed off a co-op mission from the title and demonstrated how the game will play on the new hardware. There’s prettier games out there, but the actual gameplay here looks excellent, much more about strategy and timing than merely blasting everything and everyone.
10. Inside – Gameplay
The makers behind “Limbo,” one of the two greatest downloadable indie games of last generation (the other being “Journey”), are finally back with their second effort. Proving that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, the game feels a lot like “Limbo” (and maybe even a bit “Another World”-ish) despite the graphical differences and setting change to a frightening dystopian future rather than a sinister purgatory-style land.
11. Cuphead – Gameplay
It’s 36 seconds long and unlike any other game at E3. Indeed, “Cuphead” couldn’t look more like a classic very old school Disney animation if it tried. The game itself appears to be like a classic arcade run and gun-style effort with plenty of big boss battles. More importantly it seems to stay true to its art style throughout – nostalgic AND inventive.
12. Alien Isolation – Gameplay
The game continues to look and feel impressive with each trailer or featurette. This one drops the bombshell that it’s not just you and the creature on the ship, turns out some other humans are there too and they don’t look that friendly. Each sequence still looks stunning and I can’t wait to play.
13. Mortal Kombat X – Gameplay
The return of “Mortal Kombat” gives us a gorgeous looking fighter with brief cinematics and impressive combat gameplay blending seamlessly. The settings are stunning, the character animation excellent, and the brutality that the game is famous for is intact. The really stunner though is the last minute where the new fatalities are shown in all their sick, twisted and often darkly amusing over-the-top fashion.